May 27, 2022

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South Africa has declared a ‘national disaster’ due to floods

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that storms in his country had killed at least 443 people and that dozens were missing because he had declared it a national disaster.

Ramaphosa said in a televised address that about 48 people were still missing.

He said 200 to 400 millimeters of rain fell in KwaZulu-Natal province within 24 hours starting April 11.

The rains caused extensive damage to roads, bridges and homes, disrupting food and fuel supplies. Ramaphosa said 40,000 people had been displaced by the floods.

“This is a humanitarian catastrophe that calls for massive and emergency relief efforts. The lives, health and well-being of thousands of people are in danger,” he added.

The port of Durban, one of Africa’s largest shipping ports, was closed and there was no electricity or running water in some areas.

“The economic cost of this flood has not yet been assessed in detail, but it is clear that it will run into billions of rands for rebuilding infrastructure and losing production,” Ramaphosa said.

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