Author: Ethan van Diemen

Could the KZN flooding disaster have been mitigated by a better early warning system?

Source(s): Our burning planet - Daily Maverick

A weekend of heavy rain in KwaZulu-Natal has not let up, causing flooding and mudslides that have killed at least 45 people. The rainfall has been described by forecasters at the SA Weather Service as ‘record-breaking’.

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The Witness reported: “Many Durban residents on social media have been complaining that eThekwini did not give them an early warning to prepare ahead of the floods.” 

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The mayor, however, sought to dispel that notion.

“When the South African Weather Service alerted us to these heavy rains, we issued alerts to the public. We then put our disaster management teams on standby.

“Immediately after receiving reports from the public, which worsened last night, wheels were set in motion for rescue operations and relief aid by our disaster management personnel,” said Kaunda.

eThekwini municipal spokesman Msawakhe Mayisela said the City of eThekwini had “probably” sent out alerts to the public a day or two ago. He referred us to the social media pages of the municipality and the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The first mention of flooding is made on the morning of Monday, 11 April in a Facebook post. 

The SA Weather Service, however, had issued a “Yellow level 2 warning” for rain in KwaZulu-Natal two days before that.

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