South Africa

South Africa declares floods, storms in three provinces as national disasters

South Africa classified floods and storms that hit three coastal provinces in September and October as national disasters, allowing the government to free up funds to assist with reconstruction.

Torrential rains and larger-than-normal spring tides claimed at least 11 lives, forced the evacuation of low-lying homes and closed major routes in the Western Cape in September.

Heavy rainfall in the Eastern Cape caused floods and washed away bridges, while storms in the KwaZulu-Natal province last month damaged homes and killed at least four people, broadcaster EWN reported.

The classification means the primary responsibility to coordinate and manage the cleanup is assigned to the national executive, Elias Sithole, head of the National Disaster Management Centre, said in two separate Nov. 7 Government Gazette notices. 

South Africa proclaimed a climate-related disaster early last year after floods in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province killed more than 400 people, and in 2020, it declared one due to a drought of more than seven years in the central livestock-farming regions.


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