Heavy rainfall continues falling over eastern South Africa, particularly over the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), since April 10, causing floods and landslides. On April 12, authorities reported at least 45 fatalities across the city of Durban. An unknown number of people are missing and the death toll is expected to rise.
- The city of Durban and KZN’s south-eastern parts have been put under orange alert level 8 by the South African Weather Service.
- The system responsible for the heavy rain continued to intensify and RSMC La Reunion named it Subtropical Depression “Issa” at 12:00 UTC on April 12.
- Residents are advised to stay clear of flooded roads and bridges and avoid travel if possible. People living in low-lying areas are urged to move to higher ground; those who fear their homes may collapse should seek shelter in community halls.
At 18:00 UTC on April 12, the center of Subtropical Depression “Issa” was located about 155 km (95 miles) SSE of Durban and 85 km (55 miles) E of Margate, South Africa.
Issa had a maximum average 10-minute wind speed of 95 km/h (55 mph) and a central pressure of 994 hPa.
It was moving SW – away from the coast – at 13 km/h (8 mph) in an environment favorable for further intensification.1
Heavy local rains are still possible in the next 12 hours on the southeast coast of South Africa already affected by heavy accumulations before a progressive improvement.
Gusts up to 80 km/h (50 mph) on coasts, locally up to 100 km/h (62 mph) in near coastal areas are expected in the hours ahead before decreasing over the next 12 to 18 hours.
Sea is still very rough offshore but it’s decreasing gradually.
In 24 hours to April 11, Durban recorded 91 mm (3.6 inches) of rain and more than 300 mm (11.8 inches) in 24 hours to April 12.3
On April 12, authorities reported at least 45 people died in floods and landslides caused by days of heavy rain in KZN.4
Many people are still missing and emergency services are searching for survivors.
“It’s an absolute nightmare, lots of mudslides, casualties, collapsed buildings,” Garrith Jamieson, a rescue worker, told AFP.
Some in the city of Durban are standing on rooftops awaiting rescue, but local media report that only one helicopter is available to lift people away.
Key roads across the city are shut and mudslides have destroyed many homes.
Schools were reported closed throughout the province.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been activated by the disaster management center to assist people affected and provide aerial support.2
“Disaster management teams have been evacuating people in areas that have experienced mudslides, flooding, and structural collapses of buildings and roads,” Senzelwe Mzila of the Department of Cooperative Governance said.5
“The heavy rains have affected power lines in many municipalities with technical teams working around the clock to restore power.
“Residents in areas that are on higher ground are urged to open up their homes for their neighbors who are stranded as a result of the flooding caused by the heavy rains. Many roads are blocked and residents are requested to avoid unnecessary journeys.”
More heavy rainfall is forecast over northern and eastern South Africa, with very heavy rainfall over the whole KwaZulu-Natal Province over the next 24 hours.
1 RSMC TROPICAL CYCLONE CENTER LA REUNION – TROPICAL CYCLONE FORECAST WARNING (SOUTH-WEST INDIAN OCEAN) NUMBER: 2/11/20212022 – SUBTROPICAL DEPRESSION 11 (ISSA)
2 DG ECHO Daily Flash – April 12, 2022
3 South Africa – Heavy Rain Causes Floods and Mudslides in KwaZulu-Natal – FloodList – April 12, 2022
4 South Africa’s Durban floods: At least 45 die as rain and mudslides cause havoc – BBC – April 12, 2022
5 KZN floods: Army to assist, power lines knocked down as storms wreak havoc – ECR – April 12, 2022
Featured image: Subtropical Depression “Issa” at 12:00 UTC on April 12, 2022. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-8, RAMMC/CIRA, TW
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