South Africa has experienced heavy rains these summer months, which in turn has caused flooding in 8 of 9 provinces, deeming them “disaster areas.” Over 85 people have lost their lives from the flooding and the death toll continues to rise. It is estimated that at least 8,000 families have had to evacuate and over 13,000 homes have been destroyed. These numbers are upsetting to many in the field of natural disasters whom believe that the deaths could have been avoided and that they have occurred due to lack of disaster preparedness. “These weather patterns aren’t going to change; what needs to change is our work in pre-disaster preparation,” says Mandisa Kalako-Williams, secretary-general of the South Africa Red Cross Society. Relief workers are in concordance with Williams and are fearful that this flooding may be déja vu of the Mozambique flood in 2000 that killed 800 people.
Meteorologists who have examined the situation say that the floods are due to a natural cycle called ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation). This same natural cycle has also been linked to other floods in a few other countries.