International

Watch | Is climate change responsible for the floods in South Africa?

Durban, a city in South Africa, is experiencing its deadliest floods in recent years. About 450 people have been killed so far and thousands rendered homeless.

The city is flooded every year, but the intensity of this year’s storm has taken everyone by surprise. Many, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, have blamed the disaster on climate change.

On April 11, Durban received more than 300mm of rainfall in 24 hours. This was equal to around 75% of South Africa’s average annual precipitation.

It was the latest storm in a series of storms that have hit African nations lately. During February and March, Madagascar was hit by a cyclone and tropical storms that killed at least 178 people.

Researchers from the World Weather Attribution group say climate change has fuelled heavier and more frequent rainfall in South Africa.

Experts also point out to contrasting effects of climate change

On one hand, millions are suffering from a drought in Somalia. On the other, places like Madagascar and South Africa are hit by cyclones and storms.

The South African Weather Service said that while it is impossible to attribute one event to the climate crisis, “globally, all forms of severe and extreme weather … are becoming more frequent and more extreme than in the recent past.”

But climate change is not the only reason.

Durban is one of South Africa’s fastest-growing cities. Its economic growth led to unplanned migration and the formation of informal settlements.

Around a quarter of the city’s 3.9 million people live in 550 informal settlements. At least 164 of them were built on floodplains


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Printable version | Apr 30, 2022 6:42:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/watch-is-climate-change-responsible-for-the-floods-in-south-africa/article65370224.ece