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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Flooding in KZN and Eastern Cape: A call for urgent climate action

25 April 2019 at 9:15 am

We are distressed by the growing death toll, loss and suffering caused by the heavy rains and floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Our thoughts are with all those affected by these extreme weather events and we are in conversation with local NGOs to see how to assist. We also thank local authorities, other civil society organisations like the NSRI, faith-based organisations and private citizens who are lending support to those affected during this devastating period.

Local NGOs have for many years been asking for details of disaster response and preparedness on the KZN coast. With this week’s floods hitting the province less than 2 years after previous disastrous floods, we call on authorities in KZN and Eastern Cape urgently to strengthen disaster response plans for flooding.

Further abroad, people in our neighbouring countries of Mozambique and Zimbabwe already devastated by Cyclone Idai last month, are preparing to face the brunt of yet another cyclone this week.

Global warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of some types of extreme weather. These storms – and other extreme weather events – are our new normal.

We call on our government to radically ramp up its action to mitigate against and adapt to climate change. South Africa must urgently promulgate a robust Climate Change Act, and immediately start reducing its carbon emissions. The just transition to renewable energy must be accelerated. Our water sources must be protected, pollution curbed and our catchment cleared of alien vegetation. Unsustainable mining practices must be stopped. Disaster response plans for all extreme weather events must be put in place or strengthened urgently.