Hundreds killed as flooding inflicts ‘untold havoc’ in South Africa


Via Flickr.

Simone Garza | April 18, 2022

On April 13, nearly two feet of rain from a sluggishly severe thunderstorm killed about 400 people in South Africa. The storm started on April 9 and continued through April 12. 

A flash flood is an unexpected local flood caused by large amounts of rain. Floods can also heighten the transfer rate of waterborne infections, like hepatitis A, dengue fever, and West Nile fever. Flash floods can destroy crops, minimize livestock, and carry pollutants. 

The Province of KwaZulu-Natal reported over 240 schools were affected by the flood. Officials said more than 6,000 shacks and houses were either damaged or destroyed.The excessive amount of rainfall caused large amounts of mud, debris, and trees to collapse into sensitive communities. With over 900 cell phone towers down, communication within this district was challenging.

Although the rainfall has finished, residents that live in ground level regions have been encouraged to relocate to elevated areas due to the potential risk of rivers increasing. 

AccuWeather Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls, said the erratic rainfall accumulated a storm close to the southeastern coast of South Africa. Forecasters do not see an optimistic outcome as the search of survivors continues. 

“Many of the same areas could have another round of heavy rain and flooding through this weekend,” Nicholls said. Although the rain is unlikely to pass levels of the previous system, Nicholls said the possibility of extra rain will be threatening due to unsteady ground.

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