AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The drama of Durban, hit by floods in April, has consequences for all of southern Africa

Friday, 20 May 2022 floods   caritas   pope francis  

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - The exceptional rains that hit the province of KwaZulu-Natal in eastern South Africa in April claimed more than 400 lives across the country, causing landslides and floods. The city of Durban was badly affected. Its port, the busiest in sub-Saharan Africa and gateway to the industrial heart of South Africa, has been forced to reduce its activities due to the damage suffered. The reduced functioning of the port of Durban has serious repercussions not only on the South African economy (about 60% of South African exports pass through the port of Durban), but also on that of neighboring and distant countries. For example, exports of cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which transit through the South African port of call, have been disrupted. Another important local infrastructure that has been damaged is the Durban refinery whose suspension of operations has an impact on the national and regional economy, not to mention the damage caused by contamination due to the spillage of hydrocarbons from the damaged deposits. There is also the tragedy of families left homeless by the floods. The solidarity of the Catholic Church came to their aid. Over a hundred families received food parcels donated by Caritas Durban on 14 May. The delivery was carried out by a delegation led by the President of Caritas Durban, Mgr Siegfried Mandla Jwara, Archbishop of Durban, accompanied by Mgr Peter Wells, Nuncio in Southern Africa, as well as his first secretary, Mgr Dario Paviša, who visited three of the areas affected by the devastating floods. The Apostolic Nuncio conveyed the solidarity of the Holy Father and noted that Pope Francis pledged his prayers and concern for what is happening in the areas affected by the floods. Archbishop Wells also recalled the Holy Father's commitment that the countries of the South receive aid to face the emergency caused by the Covid-19 and the sending by the Pontiff of funds for the purchase food aid because he is concerned about food security in southern Africa. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/5/2022)