New rains hamper rescue after tragic floods in South Africa


The new rains that fell on Saturday morning in South Africa darkened the sky and dimmed the hopes of progress in the rescue efforts after the tragic floods that left almost 400 dead and dozens homeless.

Rescue operations are still active, one of the rescuers told AFP.

“We are going to concentrate on medical emergencies,” explained Garrith Jamieson, director of the teams.

Most of the victims of the rains that began last weekend were concentrated in the region around Durban, a port city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), which faces the Indian Ocean.

There are still dozens of people reported missing and the army has deployed its helicopters and more than 4,000 police officers are mobilized. But on the 6th day since the catastrophe began, hopes of finding survivors are slim.

“Today it has been raining since morning in some parts of the region. Although it will not be as powerful as in recent days, as the ground is already saturated with water, there could be many more floods,” Puseletso Mofokeng told AFP. member of the National Institute of Meteorology.

Heavy rains washed away entire portions of roads and numerous infrastructures collapsed. The public transport operator is trying to restore the main axes and the priority is to rebuild the bridges that left some areas of the city of more than 3.5 million inhabitants isolated.

Nearly 4,000 houses were destroyed and there are more than 13,500 victims who were left homeless.

The authorities organized emergency shelters but there are no places and there are people sleeping in chairs or on cardboard sheets on the floor.

In some areas electricity and water have been cut off since Monday and there are desperate people drawing water from broken pipes.

Others point out that their few supplies are rotten.

President Cyril Ramaphosa described the tragedy as something “never seen” in the country and declared a state of catastrophe.

The NGOs are mobilized and there is food distribution and long queues were formed to get a sack of rice, pasta and also bottles of water and mattresses.

The day before, a group of volunteers began cleaning the beaches, which are usually full of families and tourists.

The rains also hit the neighboring province of Eastern Cape and there was also flooding in the area of ​​the coastal city of Port St Johns.

The local NGO Gift of the Givers recorded four deaths.

“The body of a small child was found yesterday,” Corene Conradie, coordinator for this province, told AFP.

“There are numerous houses destroyed and at least a hundred families are currently homeless,” he said.

South Africa usually escapes the storms that hit neighboring countries like Mozambique and Madagascar each year during the cyclone season from November to April.