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More than 448 people have died during South Africa’s devastating floods, according to government officials, as the country moved to deploy the military in the affected eastern regions, Fox News reported.
Last week, torrential rains caused flooding and mudslides that destroyed nearly 4,000 homes and displaced more than 40,000 people in the eastern city of Durban and the surrounding KwaZulu-Natal province.
Officials said at least 40 people remain missing and 600 schools have been hit with damage estimates running at $28 million.
The government sent in thousands of troops to help with the relief effort and allocated $67 million in relief.
The situation prompted South Africa to declare another national state of disaster: The country had been in a state of disaster over the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020, which was lifted earlier this month.
Despite pledges of relief, there are concerns that the government funds will not reach victims of the floods: A probe by the country’s Special Investigation Unit had previously uncovered widespread corruption in state funds that were supposed to help the nation respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said this week that there could be “no room for corruption, mismanagement or fraud of any sort” in the government’s response. But many South Africans expressed doubt victims would receive the earmarked aid.
Meanwhile, the flood and the pandemic have heavily impacted the eastern province’s tourism sector, which is known for its resorts along the Indian Ocean coastline, Reuters noted.