Counting the cost of flood damage

The rains have eased up, for now, but the costs keep mounting after the floods in KwaZulu-Natal, parts of the Eastern Cape and the North West two weeks ago. The KZN government has put the estimated total cost of flood damage at approximately R17bn. Infrastructure took the biggest knock: Damages to Prasa’s rail networks, for example, will cost the government nearly R3bn after almost 300km of Prasa’s railways were damaged. 

The death toll has plateaued but it’s still serious – more than 430 lives were lost and thousands of people remain destitute after their homes were damaged or completely washed away. The floods were the worst natural disaster SA has seen in recent history.

Last week, we told you that many feared disaster-relief resources would be misappropriated. The president noted the backlash this week, saying it is a source of “great shame”. You think? During a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces this week, Ramaphosa said that the flow of funds would be audited in real-time to guard against corruption. 

The most urgent issue now is to help communities that are without water and electricity. Tankers are reportedly on their way to desperate communities, but critics say it’s taking too long – a lack of water brings the risk of a further health crisis and keeps businesses in the affected regions from getting back on their feet.

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