Heavy floods and landslides in South Africa have killed at least 45 people

JOHANNESBURG – At least 45 people were killed in heavy rainy days on the southern coast of South Africa when rivers swept their shores and mud sliding through the city of Durban and the surrounding area.

The death toll is expected to increase as members of the South African National Defense Force are called in to assist emergency rescue teams in KwaZulu-Natal province, government officials said Tuesday. Along the coast, holiday homes and shrubs were found in one part of the country, known as the go-to spot for sun, beach and warm temperatures.

“We were all shocked by the magnitude of the storm,” Durban Mayor Mikulosi Kunda said in a news briefing.

Hurricanes have already caused devastation in many South African countries this year, displacing thousands of people and leaving dozens dead. Some scientists attribute the devastation partly to the stormy weather that is exacerbated by rising global temperatures.

The island of Madagascar is badly hit, with a tornado and four tropical storms that killed at least 178 people during February and March.

But the storm, created in the South Indian Ocean, also shook the mainland. Thousands were displaced along the coastal belt of Mozambique, with floods reaching Malawi and Zimbabwe underground. The eastern KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa also receives heavy rains and floods in February.

On Tuesday, a new storm flooded much of Durban City. Footage from Emergency Services shows parts of the national highway were drained and washed with shipping containers, like a river. In Werholm, a town in the north of the city, two people were killed when a house collapsed overnight, according to the local emergency services team.

Residents took shelter on high ground, climbing roofs of houses, office buildings and a Hindu temple, according to rescue workers.

In Tongaat, 40 minutes north of the city center, a woman was driving home with her children in the car on Monday evening, when a stream started flowing into the river, which broke its banks, Bilal Giova said. A charitable group. The body of the woman and two children was found, but the body of the third child has not yet been found.

The floods also caused landslides that destroyed roads and homes in the area. The apartments on the north coast of apartments on the north coast were buried in red with clay, while the foundations of the mountains were carefully hidden after the wash, according to a video shown on national television.

The Shanti villages built along the seaside were the most vulnerable, and sloping houses were washed with flood water or covered with soil and debris.

In a quiet town in Clare State, a suburb north of the city, residents dig through dust, metal and wood to try to save the family of five people in their pits – but rescuers were too late, Said Robert Mackenzie. KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services.

By the time the water was lowered, emergency workers were struggling to reach the affected areas. By mid-day, dozens of schoolchildren and their teachers were wandering in their classrooms, waiting to be rescued, Kozi Mashingo, the head of the provincial education department, told the national news broadcaster eNCA. About 100 schools were damaged, and 500 schools were closed in the area, he said.

Durban Mayor Mr Konda said large sections of the city were without electricity and water when power stations and water treatment plants were damaged. The city is still recovering from widespread riots and looting last July, during the worst civil unrest in South Africa since the end of apartheid.

According to the South African Meteorological Service, the rainfall is expected to cover the region on Tuesday and again during the week.

Heavy rainfall is one of the common seasonal trends in South Africa, known as the cut off low, which creates low pressure systems and disrupts flow, resulting in a slower storm. Gives a.

“This is very common for this time of year,” said Cogolfo Mahlangu, a forecaster with the weather service, noting that severe rainfall at the same time affected the area in 2017 and 2019.

Some climate scientists are blaming climate change for the recent increase in the intensity of storms. A study published this week by World Weather Alert, a measure that specializes in addressing the link between climate change and individual climate events, said that “climate change is increasing the risk at places where tropical storms are already occurring. They are affecting agriculture, infrastructure, economy and livelihoods. ”

Rainfall levels were studied in cyclones during the Batsarei and Tropical Storm Anna in January and February. The research, noting the differences in region data, found that global warming caused humanity to play a role in making these storms more severe.

John Algon Olunda, South Africa, and Raymond Zong From new york

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