Monday, 18 April 2022 15:43

Ramaphosa to brief SA tonight at 8pm about response to devastating floods.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 8pm on Monday on the government's response to the catastrophic floods in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

"The address follows a special Cabinet meeting yesterday where government assessed the social and economic aftermath of flooding in the two provinces and work underway to provide relief and rebuild," presidency said in a statement.

Ramaphosa visited the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality on Wednesday, 13 April, where he received an update incorporating the responses of local, provincial and national authorities to the provincial disaster.

The floods claimed 443 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and infrastructure and the government has announced an immediate one billion rand in emergency relief funding.

Ramaphosa has postponed a Working Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend to the impact of severe weather events that have since affected the Eastern Cape as well.

In a statement, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it is saddened by the loss of life.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the condolences of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to the government and people of the friendly Republic of South Africa, for the victims of the floods that hit the city of Durban, which resulted in a number of victims, injured, and missing. The Ministry expresses its sincere wishes for the survival of the missing and a speedy recovery for the injured."

While the southeastern region has suffered some flooding before, the devastation has never been so severe. South Africans have previously watched similar tragedies hit neighbouring countries such as cyclone-prone Mozambique.

The country is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and deadly riots last year that killed more than 350 people, mostly in the now flood-struck southeastern region.