Pretoria – The Acting Resident Co-ordinator and head of the United Nations in South Africa, Mr Ayodele Odusola, is saddened by the increasing death toll following the catastrophic floods in the Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces earlier this week.
“We share the sentiments expressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that indeed this is devastating and we as the UN in South Africa express our condolences to the families of the victims who have lost their lives. We call on the private sector, civil society organisations, and the international community to support the government to provide much-needed assistance to the families impacted by this catastrophic flooding.”
The UN South Africa’s support follows the signing of an MoU in July last year with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the wake of the 2019 floods and the July 2021 civil unrest.
“The UN in South Africa stands ready to extend our support to the government’s response and to the communities affected, many of whom experienced the same devastation in 2019. Families residing on the embankments of rivers in informal settlements and already vulnerable are seeing their homes being washed away, walls and roofs collapsing and losing family members.”
The UN in South Africa notes with concern the impact of the flooding in the Eastern Cape province in areas such as Port St Johns, Greens Farm and other areas where communities are being forced to leave their homes as many homes are submerged in water, and urge communities to exercise caution especially when crossing rivers, streams and roads that are reportedly impassable.
“These recurring flood events are a stark reminder that a just transition in South Africa requires not only focusing on decarbonisation but also paying strong attention to adaptation.”
The organisation said town planners must rise to the occasion of this devastating challenge by ensuring houses are not built on waterways and extant town planning laws are implemented without fear or favour.
“We are also concerned about media reports in KZN of looting and theft of goods and commodities. We appeal to communities, that this is a time to come together and help each other.”