Over the past few days, eThekweni and other regions of KwaZulu-Natal have been battered by what has been described as the worst floods in decades. The province recorded more than 351mm of rainfall, which caused untold damage to property and infrastructure, including electricity, roads, and bridges as well as schools and health facilities.
Images of people stranded on their roofs awaiting rescue, roads, and highways submerged under raging waters have been unbearable to witness. The death toll has been reported as reaching 300, exceeding Durban’s 61 deaths in April 2019, when a ‘Rain Bomb’ unleashed 168 mm in 24 hours, costing what eThekwini municipality estimated at R1.1 billion in damages. Following the current floods, thousands of people have been displaced and forced to seek shelter.
Amid this crisis, it has been heartening to see civil society and humanitarian groups stepping in and rolling up their sleeves to help. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has launched a KZN Flood Relief Fund to assist the KwaZulu-Natal community to rebuild. The Chair of UJ Council, Mr Mike Teke, is donating R100,000, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, will be donating R20,000. This will be given to the Gift of the Givers, a trusted humanitarian NGO that has been at the forefront of aid at this difficult time.
We call upon those who can voluntarily lend a hand to rebuild KwaZulu-Natal to do so.