South African military to help flood relief efforts

South African military to help flood relief efforts

A man with a raincoat walks down a huge puddle in Clare Estate outside Durban on April 18, 2022 as rain begins to fall again after winds, heavy rainfall and mudslides destroyed many homes and infrastructure last week. Hundreds of South African soldiers will help with relief efforts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where more than 440 people have died in floods and mudslides and dozens more are missing, according to RAJESH JANTILAL AFP UMBUMBULU, South Africa.

A week after the torrential rains began, the South African National Defense Force said on Monday it had been instructed to activate 10,000 troops for tasks including mop-up work and transporting aid.

The SANDF would provide medical support and helicopters for rescue and reconnaissance missions.

The floods left thousands homeless, knocked out power and water services and disrupted operations at one of Africa's busiest ports, Durban.

In a televised speech, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that his cabinet had declared a state of disaster because of the floods and extreme weather in several provinces, which would allow for a more effective response to the crisis.

He said the finance minister would approach parliament over additional spending, beyond the 1 billion rand $68 million, which he said is immediately available.

Herdsman Mbukeni Khwela accompanied police officers and sniffer dogs to the river for a missing neighbour who had been swept away from Umbumbulu about 45 km 28 miles southwest of Durban.

The 59-year-old said we have found her son, but we haven't found her.

The latest death toll from the floods is at 443, with 48 people still unaccounted for, Ramaphosa said.

The police said they were mourning two officers and a sniffer dog killed in the floods, among the worst to affect the east coast province in recorded history.