South African Army deploys 10,000 soldiers in flood relief effort

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Residents salvage the remains of what use to be the United Methodist Church of South Africa in Clermont, near Durban, on April 13, 2022, following heavy rains that left four children dead in the area. AFP


The South African army said Monday it had deployed 10,000 troops to help the nation’s east coast recover from storms that have claimed 443 lives and ravaged infrastructure.

Some of the troops include plumbers and electricians to help restore power and water, which have been cut off in some areas for a week.

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The troops are also providing field accommodation and water purification systems, the army said.

The deadliest storm on record dumped apocalyptic levels of rain on the city of Durban and the surrounding area of KwaZulu-Natal province.


Some 40,000 people were left homeless and more than 550 schools and nearly 60 health care facilities have been damaged, according to government tallies.

The government has announced an immediate one billion rand ($68 million) in emergency relief.

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Funerals are being held across Durban even as grim tales of the catastrophe continue to emerge.


One woman was found dead with her three grandchildren after their car was washed away, while rescuers reported finding bodies washed into dams, local media reported.

Drinking water remains in short supply in many neighbourhoods.

With main roads clear enough to allow heavy trucks, the city dispatched water tankers to the hardest-hit areas.

Running water was restored to some neighbourhoods over the weekend, but other areas could face a long wait.

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“Some sites are still inaccessible and teams are waiting for the rain to subside before carrying out disaster assessments and the scope of work to be undertaken,” city spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said late Sunday.

Blue skies finally reappeared Monday, giving hope that the rains have at last subsided.

But the normally azure waters at Durban’s famed beaches have been turned a muddy brown by the mountains of earth and debris washed to the shore.

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