World News

South African president blames climate change for “flood disaster” that killed at least 259 people

The floods in the Durban region of South Africa have claimed at least 259 lives and are a “huge catastrophe”, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

“This disaster is part of climate change. It tells us that climate change is serious, it is here, “Ramaphosa said, visiting the flooded areas of Durban and the surrounding eThekwini area.

“We can no longer postpone what we need to do and the measures we need to take to tackle climate change,” he said.

The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue in KwaZulu-Natal province, officials said. The province is on track to be declared a disaster zone by the national government, Ramaphosa said.

“KwaZulu-Natal will be declared a provincial disaster zone so we can do things quickly. “Bridges have collapsed, roads have collapsed, people have died and people have been injured,” Ramaphosa said.

Residents are rescuing the remains of what was the United Methodist Church of South Africa in Clermont, near Durban, on Wednesday. (Phil Magakow / AFP / Getty Images)

He said one family lost 10 members in the devastating floods.

Residents had to leave their homes as they were swept away, buildings collapsed and road infrastructure was severely damaged. Durban Harbor was flooded and the shipping containers were swept into a cluttered pile.

Authorities also sought to restore electricity in large parts of the province after severe floods at various power plants.

Rescue efforts by South African national defense forces have been delayed as the air force was also affected by the floods, General Rudzani Mapvanya said. The military managed to deploy personnel and helicopters around the province on Wednesday, he said.

South Africa’s meteorological services have warned of ongoing winds and rains and the risk of continued flooding in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces over the coming Easter weekend. The eastern cape, free state and northwestern provinces of south africa may be affected, the statement said.

The President

– @ PresidencyZA