Monday, April 18, 2022

What's behind South Africa's flood disaster


Issued on: 18/04/2022 - 12:34

South Africa, the continent's most industrialised country, has largely escaped the tropical cyclones that regularly hit its neighbours.

But last week, storms pummelled the east coast city of Durban, triggering heavy floods and landslides that killed more than 440.


If the storm system itself is a known phenomenon, the difference this time was the intensity of the the deluge.

Here, experts point the finger at climate change -- warmer seas charge the atmosphere with more moisture, which then gets dumped as rainfall.

"We've seen in Durban three (severe) floods in less than 10 years. Does it have to do with climate change? Definitely," said Mary Galvin of the University of Johannesburg.

"We are feeling the impact of what will certainly be unpredictable, more frequent, severe and extreme weather events."

A recent UN report says what was once considered a one-in-a-hundred-year flood event could end up happening several times a year by 2050.


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