24 May 2019

South Africa: Durban Floods - an Open Letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa


The massive floods that hit KZN, and Durban in particular, in April 2019 are yet another indicator of how climate change is affecting our resilience, a fact acknowledged by President Cyril Ramaphosa. But there has been a strange silence since then, and big, carbon-intensive programmes are steaming ahead in the port city. Surely the time for talking is over?

President Ramaphosa, on 24 April 2019, you visited South Durban neighbourhoods. You had returned home to South Africa early from an important African Union conference because a catastrophic storm hit us on Easter Monday. The "rain bomb" that pounded South Durban included 168mm of downpour in 24 hours, by far the worst flooding ever recorded in the city.

Ten people were trapped inside a house at Westcliff Secondary School on Crimby Avenue, Chatsworth, after heavy rainfall on 22 April 2019 caused the embankment to collapse. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim.

Upon visiting our communities, you immediately gave us sound analysis: "This is partly what climate change is about, it just hits when we least expect it."

We agree that the climate crisis must be talked about. And we hope you agree that the forces that caused this crisis - the major greenhouse...

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