Torrential rains have created further havoc for families in eastern South Africa just a month after the worst floods in living memory killed more than 400 people and made nearly 7,000 people homeless.
The most recent rains again hit the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, including the port city of Durban, home to some 3.9 million people, and damaged homes, schools, roads and other critical infrastructure. The rains started last weekend and have killed at least two people, while 250 people have been evacuated from displacement shelters housing them since the April floods.
Save the Children is working with partners in KwaZulu Natal, providing families with food vouchers, clothing, water and psychosocial support, and providing children with tablets and data so they can continue learning remotely while out of school.
In recent years, KwaZulu-Natal province– South Africa’s second most populated province - has experienced four major floods, three of which have been in mid-April. Flooding is becoming more frequent and more intense, with experts predicting that the climate crisis will continue to make the region more vulnerable.
Save the Children is gravely concerned both at the loss of life, and the loss of infrastructure critical to child development and wellbeing due to the double flood crisis. The organisation is urging the provincial and national government as well as the private sector to do more to ramp up the emergency response while investing in infrastructure that is more weather-resilient.
Save the Children South Africa CEO Steve Miller said:
“Across KwaZulu-Natal we are seeing first-hand how the floods have harmed the poorest and most marginalised children, and have undermined their rights to survive, learn and be protected. We urgently need to finalse the Climate Change bill in South Africa an its associated plans to safeguard the future of children in South Africa.
“Children and their families have been forced to leave their homes, exposing them to trauma, kicking them out of school, and removing the normal habits and structures they need to thrive. Their rights to play, to have an adequate standard of living and their overall developmental outcomes are being severely derailed by these repeated crises. Furthermore, these floods are disrupting life-supporting ecosystems, seeing future food production and safe access to fresh water jeopardised.
“All of us – in South Africa and around the world - need to do more to prevent these kinds of disasters. Climate change is happening at an alarming pace and the consequences of our failure to turn the tide on climate change are clear.”
About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
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