South Africa releases funds for residents in flooded disaster area

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SOUTH African officials say they are releasing emergency funds Friday to help people deal with the aftermath of recent massive rains and deadly floods along the country’s eastern coast.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the region a disaster area.

Authorities say the unprecedented rainfall killed 341 people and left tens of thousands more without shelter, water and electricity.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said in a television interview on Newsroom Afrika that $68.3 million is available for immediate use, and millions more will be made available later.

“A total number of 40,723 people have been affected,” Sihle Zikalala, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, said.

There is “a sense of despair amid the stench of sewage, growing stronger as the rains, which wrought so much devastation, stopped and the tropical heat returned,” Agence France-Presse, the French news agency reported.

The news agency adds that some people have been without water and electricity since Monday.

Protests have emerged in some areas over what demonstrators say is the country’s slow response to the disaster.

“We are working as quickly as we can,” Durban’s city government said in a statement.

The South African Weather Service has issued a warning about more rain and flooding this weekend in KwaZulu-Natal and neighboring Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.