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S.Africa releases emergency funds for deadly floods, nearly 400 dead

By Reuters | Apr 15th 2022 | 2 min read

Durban residents drag a carpet into the Sun to dry after their home was flooded in the Dakota informal settlement in Isipingo Beach. [Reuters]

Nearly 400 people have lost their lives in the deadly floods that have hit South Africa’s east coast.

Reuters reports that the floods in Kwazulu-Natal Province have knocked out power lines, shut down water services, and disrupted operations at one of Africa's busiest ports.

Media reports indicate that most highways have been rendered impassable while beaches are washed up with debris, with more than 40,000 people directly affected.

With the number of deaths swelling and essential infrastructure under stress, the South African government on Friday, April 15, released emergency funds to help tens of thousands of people left without shelter, water and power.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told Newsroom Afrika nine billion ($68.3 million) has been set aside for emergency relief for immediate use.

"We are still at an emergency relief stage. There is a need for speed in this matter," Godongwana said, adding that "the second phase is going to be a recovery and repair."

Local TV stations showed volunteers clearing plastic containers, piles of bamboo and driftwood from Durban beachfront. On other beaches, a Reuters witness said holidaymakers were taking advantage of a lull before the rains were due to resume later on Friday.

More than 40,000 people have been affected by the disaster, authorities say.

Scientists believe the southeastern coast of Africa is becoming more vulnerable to violent storms and floods as human emissions of heat-trapping gases cause the Indian Ocean to warm. They expect the trend to worsen dramatically in the coming decades.

Local climate campaigners are calling for greater investment to help communities better prepare for weather shocks. Ministers were arriving in Durban on Friday to assess the damage.

At a silent procession in Durban to mark the start of the Easter weekend, Christian worshippers laid flowers on a cross.

The Kwazulu-Natal Province has since been declared a disaster area.

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