Home News State of Disaster declared over flooding, army intervention possible

State of Disaster declared over flooding, army intervention possible

by Zahid Jadwat

Seven provinces have experienced flooding over the past week, with more rainfall predicted to fall this summer. [Picture: Zululand Observer]


The South African government has once again declared a national state of disaster, to deal with widespread flooding that has washed parts of the country. It also said a deployment of the army and police was possible where necessary.

Several provinces, including Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, the Northern Cape, and North West have all experienced torrential rain caused by the La Niña global weather phenomenon.

During the latter half of last week and continuing through the past weekend, a slow-moving upper-air cut-off low pressure system lingered over the interior, causing widespread and often heavy rain over the eastern and north-eastern provinces, according to the South African Weather Service.

“This extreme rainfall resulted in widespread flooding, with major rivers (especially those transiting the Kruger National Park and Lowveld) now being in full flood since the beginning of the weekend. The Escarpment and Lowveld regions of the Limpopo province and particularly the Mpumalanga province have borne the brunt of the flooding, with the southern half of the Kruger National Park particularly affected,” read a statement.

The forecaster warned further rain was expected to pound the northern region as a “fresh” rain system was moving into Zimbabwe from the east.

“This system is a so-called east wind wave and is likely to herald a further episode of persistent and sometimes heavy rain for the north-eastern and northern provinces, which are already saturated and rain-soaked, following the heavy rainfall of the past week.”


SMread: SA back under State of Disaster, this time to deal with loadshedding

State of Disaster to respond to flooding

The government said the declaration of a state of disaster over flooding would “enable an intensive, coordinated response to the impact of floods”. It comes on the heels of an earlier state of disaster declared to deal with the energy crisis.

A statement from the Presidency said, “the National Disaster Management Centre has received reports ranging from flooded homes, vehicles swept away by floodwaters and overflowing dams and sewerage facilities, to the loss of basic infrastructure and damage to roads, bridges and a Limpopo hospital”.

“Taken together, these conditions demand the provision of temporary shelters, food and blankets to homeless families and individuals and the large-scale, costly rehabilitation of infrastructure.”

It also hinted at a potential military deployment should the flooding worsen in coming months.

“National entities, including the South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force, may be required to play a role in the response to the disaster,” the Presidency said.

South Africa has spent nearly half of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency under some form of a state of disaster or another. The first was declared in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the world and sent health authorities scrambling to prepare for its impact.

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