“The heavy rains that have hit our land over the past few days have caused incalculable damage and massive damage to life and infrastructure,” the statement said.
Teams are evacuating people in areas that have experienced “landslides, floods and structural collapses of buildings and roads,” Sifo Khlomuka, a member of the Executive Council for Shared Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, tweeted on Tuesday.
“Torrential rains have affected power lines in many municipalities, and technical teams are working around the clock to restore power,” Chlomuka added.
Power plants were flooded and unavailable in the hard-hit municipality of Etekwini, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told reporters, while water pipes were also damaged.
The local government has asked private and religious institutions to help with relief operations, he said, and has also asked the South African National Defense Force to provide air support.
The extreme weather comes just months after heavy rains and flooding hit other parts of southern Africa, with three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms in just six weeks since the end of January. It was reported about 230 dead and 1 million injured.
Scientists at the World Weather Attribution (WWA) project, which analyzes how the climate crisis may have contributed to extreme weather events, found that climate change has made these events more likely.
“Once again we are seeing the people least responsible for climate change bearing the brunt of the consequences,” WWA’s Frederica Otto of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London said on Tuesday, referring to an earlier storm in southern Africa. .
“Rich countries must honor their commitments and increase much-needed funding for adaptation as well as compensation for victims of extreme events caused by climate change,” she added.
Extreme weather events in southern Africa come amid rising tensions 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 in the next international climate talks, the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
Scientists have warned that the world should try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialization temperatures, about 200 years ago, to prevent some of the irreversible effects of climate change. The Earth is already about 1.2 degrees warmer.