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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.

ENDS

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Report a Violation

National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

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