Floods in South Africa kill over 440; troops sent to assist in relief efforts

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At least 448 people have been killed by devastating floods in South Africa.

The country has declared a state of national disaster, allocating $67 million in relief to help those affected by flooding in the eastern city of Durban and surrounding KwaZulu-Natal province.

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The floods and mudslides – caused by prolonged heavy rains – have displaced more than 40,000 people and destroyed nearly 4,000 homes, officials say.

More than 40 people are still missing and 600 schools suffered damage estimated at around $28 million.

The South African military has deployed 10,000 troops to help with search and rescue efforts, rebuild collapsed roads and bridges, and deliver food, water and clothing to those affected.

Water tankers have been sent to areas where access to drinking water has been interrupted and teams are working to restore electricity.

South Africa had been in a state of national disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. It was lifted two weeks ago.

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After widespread corruption was uncovered by the state’s special investigative unit in public funds meant to help the nation respond to the coronavirus pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that he there could be “no room for corruption, mismanagement or fraud of any kind”. ” in the government’s response.

“Learning from the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are bringing together various stakeholders to be part of an oversight structure to ensure that all funds disbursed to respond to this disaster are properly accounted for and that the state gets what it pays for,” he said. mentioned.

Ramaphosa, who visited some of the flooded areas last week, blamed climate change for the record rains, the heaviest in at least 60 years.

Notably, many South Africans are skeptical that public funds earmarked for flood relief will not be siphoned off by corruption.

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Several companies, South African personalities and charities have pledged money to private organisations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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