“The heavy rains that have befallen our lands in recent days have wreaked untold havoc and caused massive damage to lives and infrastructure,” he said.
Crews evacuated people to areas that had experienced “mudslides, flooding and structural collapses of buildings and roads”, Sipho Hlomuka, Executive Council Member for Cooperative Governance and Business, said on Twitter on Tuesday. traditions of KwaZulu-Natal.
“Heavy rains have affected power lines in many municipalities with technical teams working around the clock to restore power,” Hlomuka added.
Power stations were flooded and inaccessible in the hard-hit municipality of eThekwini, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told reporters, while water pipes were also damaged.
The local government has asked private and religious institutions to help with emergency relief operations and has asked for help from the South African National Defense Force to provide air support, he said.
The extreme weather comes just months after heavy rains and floods hit other parts of southern Africa, with three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms in just six weeks from late January. There have been 230 reported deaths and 1 million people affected.
Scientists from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) project – which analyzes how much the climate crisis may have contributed to an extreme weather event – found that climate change made such events more likely.
“Once again we see how the people least responsible for climate change are bearing the brunt of the impacts,” WWA’s Friederike Otto of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London said on Tuesday, making reference to the previous one. storms in southern Africa.
“Rich countries should honor their commitments and increase much-needed finance for adaptation and to compensate victims of extreme events caused by climate change with payments for loss and damage,” she added.
The extreme weather events in southern Africa come as tensions rise between some developed and developing countries over who should pay for the damages and impacts of the climate crisis. This is expected to be a major sticking point at the upcoming international climate negotiations, the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
Scientists have warned that the world must try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialization temperatures around 200 years ago to avoid some irreversible climate change impacts. Earth is already about 1.2 degrees warmer.