Just four months ago I took a trip to the KZN North Coast for work. The story was on how drought had affected sugarcane farmers and even affected the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve. It was the worst drought in decades. Crops were suffering, animals were suffering. It was rough.
Fast forward to today and an announcement that in KZN alone, flooding brought about by recent heavy rains have caused damage of R300 million. Just to make it clear: that’s in KZN alone. Other provinces also had hundreds of millions of rand in damage. It’s terrifying.
Here’s the Sapa story, as it appeared on the wires:
KwaZulu-Natal was hardest hit by the recent floods so far, sustaining an estimated R300 million in damage, the co-operative governance and traditional affairs ministry said on Thursday.
Damage was estimated at R50m in the Northern Cape, R80.3m in the North West, R150m in the Eastern Cape and R300m in KwaZulu-Natal, the ministry said in a statement.
“National disaster management and engineering experts will still do their own assessment and verification of the assessments done by local municipalities.”
Gauteng government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi on Wednesday said “millions… billions rather” would be needed to repair damage in the province.
The ministry also anticipated that South Africa had not yet seen the last of the rains and may not do so for the next few months.
“Due to the La Niña effect on the global climate situation, in South Africa the rains are expected to continue up to May and even beyond.
“Communities are advised to be in constant contact with their municipalities for assistance and advice where it is possible, and to also constantly monitor the media, in particular radio, for warnings,” it said.
Forty-one people have died due to floods, lightning and storms. Thirty-three municipalities in eight provinces were declared disaster areas on Monday.
“Disaster management and emergency services, in conjunction with municipalities, have conducted rapid assessments of the damage, which are carried out by the municipalities with sector departments.”
Once damage inspections had been carried out, recommendations for funding would be sent to the Treasury.
Insurer Santam said floods had already affected hundreds of insured South Africans. The company also expected the cost of the floods to run into millions.
This could hit many South Africans hard as, for example, only 35 percent of South African drivers were insured.
The private sector has offered its help.
“Government has applauded the initiative shown by the private sector with offers of contributions towards the rebuilding and rehabilitation process, with Absa and Vodacom already having approached government with contributions.”
Meanwhile, in Centurion, Pretoria, an area hit-hard by the rains, local emergency services remained on high alert.
No floods had occurred since Monday, but more rain was expected in the coming days.