South Africans still looking for relatives are devastated by the floods that ravaged their country last week, in which 435 people were killed, and over 40,000 were left homeless in Durban and the KwaZulu–Natal region.
DURBAN (South Africa) — South Africans are still struggling to find their loved ones after last week’s floodings left 435 dead and more than 40,000 homeless in Durban and surrounding KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa’s army has sent 10,000 soldiers to assist in searching for missing people, rebuild roads and bridges, and distribute emergency aid to those affected by the flood. The government has provided $67 million in emergency aid to families affected by the deluge.
Families persist grimly in their search for the remains of loved ones.
Joseph Nkosi (56) of Inanda township spends his time searching through a river stream full of debris for his daughter Ntombenhle (15). She was last seen crossing a low-lying bridge as the waters took her away.
Nkosi said that she was heartbroken. “I am merely hoping to find her body. I’m already adamant that she is gone. Only her school tie, which she found in this river stream, is all I hold on to.”
Apollo Mdladla (47), a resident, stated that he and his daughter are having trouble coping with the death of 10 family members. Floods destroyed their home and killed a mother, her children, and grandchildren.
“We still have trauma. I used to play with those children. She now asks me, “Where is Melissa?” “Where is Lulu?” I had to tell her, as she could see that they were gone. Mdladla spoke as rescue workers searched his backyard for bodies among the rubble.
He said that five bodies from the family were found, while the remaining five remain missing.
Durban’s poorest neighborhoods were the most affected, with many families building homes on unsafe ground. Homes built on hillsides were also destroyed by mudslides, affecting middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods.
Many families have fled to shelters in schools, churches, and community halls. However, most of these centers do not have electricity or water.
“The city is still in crisis ten days following the storm. It is now primarily a crisis with water and sanitation provisions — for hospitals and clinics, and communities. Mani Thandrayen is the medical team leader at Doctors Without Borders Durban. “Failing to do this could lead to a deeper health crisis characterized as water-borne diseases.” He said that the organization supports four shelters by providing food, water, cookware, blankets, mattresses, and other essential items.
Many homes that remain must be evacuated as they are unstable and could soon collapse, Brigadier General Andries Mahapa, spokesperson for the South African National Defence Force, said.
“What we’ve said since day one is that these people must be moved. He said they need to provide temporary shelter for them while they search for alternative housing. “We can’t repair them because they will collapse any minute now,” Mahapa said.
Officials estimate that flood damage to roads and bridges amounts to $373 million. Schools cost $26 million, and hospitals at $12 million.
According to Jeff Smithers (director of the Center for Water Resources Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal), the flooding in Durban was caused by poor maintenance of Durban’s drainage systems. He called for better early warning systems to help respond to such disasters.
He said that the poor maintenance exacerbated the problem, which caused drainage systems to get blocked by debris. “But even in the ideal scenario, we would have experienced flooding.”
Sandile Cele, 23 years old, was still shaken by the floods and surveyed the wreckage from the family home on a small hill, Inanda. The steel-framed windows used to allow him to see the scene through, but the rising waters have ripped away from the entire wall of his dining room.
He said that his mother tried to clean out the water from the house. But, we heard the house collapse and ran to the neighbor’s house.
The floods destroyed windows and walls, tore down walls, and tore off roofs in their houses.
“We’ve lost so much. Cele said that Cele and her mother had just completed the construction of the second house using the money my father left. Cele stated, “What we want is a house. A place where we can live comfortably.”
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