As cleaning-up operations – following the torrential rains – intensify in KwaZulu-Natal, humanitarian aid is desperately needed. Homes were washed away, lives lost and infrastructure destroyed by the floods.
The United Nations’ Zeenat Abdool says it’s time to lend a hand.
“We stand ready to extend our support to the government’s response and to communities affected many of whom experienced the same devastation in 2019. Families residing on the embankments of rivers in informal settlements and already vulnerable are seeing their homes being washed away, walls and roofs collapsing and losing family members. The UN in SA notes with concern the impact of floods in the Eastern Cape as well and urges communities to exercise caution when crossing rivers.”
Abdool also says these recurring floods are a stark reminder that a just transition in the country should not only focus on decarbonising, but also pay attention to adaptation as climate change is real.
“Our town planners must rise to the occasion of this devastating challenge by ensuring houses are not built on waterways and extent town planning laws are implemented without fear or favour.”
Meanwhile, Unicef and other organisations have come on board to assist those affected.
Unicef’s Muriel Mafico, says, “Unicef South Africa is working with provincial and national government in response to the recent floods that hit KwaZulu Natal. Once again, we stand together. The magnitude of the floods is devastating and Unicef is working with the Basic Education Department to address the impact of floods in over 600 schools that are closed. We are also working with the Department of Social Development to conduct comprehensive assessment to understand the impact of the floods and the needs on the ground.”
Authorities say with the death toll at over 440, they expect the number to rise as more bodies are discovered in one of the worst floods in the history of South Africa.
KZN Floods | UN pledges solidarity with SA amid devastating floods: