South Africa: Severe Thunderstorms - Dec 2021


Disaster description

In the early hours of the 12th of December, heavy thunderstorms hit Mthatha town, in the OR Tambo district of the Eastern Cape province. Media reports indicated a total death toll of 6 people, more than 27 people hospitalized and hundreds left homeless. As the week progressed, Amathole, Buffalo city, Chris Hani, Alfred Nzou and Joe Gqabi surrounding districts were also impacted by thunderstorms. Reports further stipulated that over 1,000 homes were damaged, with likely more being affected. To date, through on-going joint assessments by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC), local municipalities and other stakeholders inclusive of the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS), 1,762 households (8,810 people) have been recorded to adversely affected. Some affected populations’ homes have been severely damaged or destroyed with others being partially damaged, posing the risk of unsafe buildings especially with continuous heavy rains still experienced in affected areas. [...] In total there are 450 families that are accommodated in community halls and schools across three districts (OR Tambo; Amathole and Alfred Nzou). [...] The thunderstorm has greatly affected health, WASH, food security and livelihoods sectors and people are struggling to cope will ripple effects which include trauma, stress, limited hygiene materials and food insecurities. (IFRC, 28 Dec 2021)

Heavy rain has been affecting Eastern Cape Province (south-eastern South Africa) over the past few days, causing floods and resulting in casualties and damage. According to media reports, at least ten people died, hundreds of people have been displaced, roads and houses have been flooded. On 11 January, rain with thunderstorms is forecast, while on 12 January drier conditions are expected over most of Eastern Cape Province. (ECHO, 11 Jan 2022)

The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has classified the damaging recent inclement weather in parts of the country as a national disaster. The heavy summer rain has claimed over 80 lives, with damage to property, infrastructure and the environment caused by flooding, strong winds, sink holes, and landslides. “This classification is done to confirm that the situation is regarded as a disaster and is of a magnitude that exceeds the capacity of affected municipalities and Provinces to deal with. “It further assigns primary responsibility to the national sphere of government for the coordination and management of the disaster and enables organs of state in all spheres to assist in dealing with the disaster and its consequences,” he said. (Govt. South Africa, 20 Jan 2022)

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