Heavy Flooding Prompts ADRA Response in South Africa

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing relief assistance in South Africa where widespread storms and floods have affected eight of the country’s nine provinces, leaving more than 80 people dead and injuring 375 others.

ADRA’s operation aims to reduce the risk of highly contagious waterborne diseases and meet the hygiene needs of affected residents through the distribution of hydration packs and hygiene kits to more than 1,155 families. These kits include water purification tablets, jerry cans, bath soap, laundry soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, pampers, female hygiene products and facial tissues.

The initial emergency response will take place in Northern Cape Province where floods resulted from the overflow of the Orange and Vaal rivers, two of South Africa’s largest rivers. According to government reports, the floods have damaged some 8,000 homes, affected more than 1,100 families in the Northern Cape Province alone and caused havoc in 33 district municipalities in eight provinces.

To further combat the spread of waterborne diseases, ADRA is prepared to distribute 40,000 water purification tablets, which will provide the equivalent of 264,172 gallons of water (1 million liters), as each tablet can purify up to 6.6 gallons (25 liters). ADRA is also coordinating hygiene related activities with selected members of each community who will help raise awareness regarding proper hygiene and sanitation practices in order to protect residents from possible infection.

The devastating storms, which were caused by cooler ocean temperatures, are linked to the reoccurring weather pattern called La Niña. The storms associated with this weather pattern have hovered above South Africa since mid-December, drenching the country with an unusually high amount of rainfall.