Statement on current events in KwaZulu Natal

Our hearts are with those affected by the devastating natural disaster

22 April, 2022

As the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) our hearts go out to the people in KZN who have lost lives, loved ones, material possessions, and homes in last week due to the floods. This is not the first time that the province has been affected by heavy rainfalls and flooding. In 2019, the province was similarly affected by flooding and mudslides which caused devastation and claimed the lives of many, including a baby. Despite this, lessons were not learned and we are once again seeing a repeat of the consequences of failed infrastructure and lack of preparation for extreme weather incidents or natural disasters on the lives of the people.

Last year in July we saw KZN collectively go through the riots and looting and try to rebuild in the aftermath of the turmoil. The floods have caused devastation to a province already hard hit. At the time of writing, 448 people have lost their lives with the death toll expecting to rise as many are still unaccounted for. Hundreds have lost homes and all belongings, with the marginalized and poor living in informal settlements being affected the most. The true extent of the devastation will only be accessed as the proverbial dust settles and people are able to get their bearings. As activists and comrades, our hearts go out to our comrades in Abahlali BaseMjondolo (ABM), an organization fighting for equality and to better the lives of people, who have seen their members lose everything.

We have been talking about how our activism needs to be informed by the ideology of intersectionality, owing to the fact that our struggles are interconnected. While we are a Palestine Solidarity Organization (PSO), we believe in advocating for rights across the board; may it be workers’ rights, students’ rights or talking about the effects of climate change. Climate justice activists have been warning us of the effects of climate change but we are now seeing these factors in action with heavy rainfalls, flooding, and earthquakes affecting countries around the globe.  The devastation that we have witnessed in KZN is, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the consequences of climate change.

At times, due to the nature of the circumstances in Palestine, the effects of climate change on Palestinians is not as focused on. Despite the lack of discourse, we must remain wary of discarding the ways in which natural disasters could affect the people of Palestine, who already face issues of displacement and lack of safe shelter. If a similar natural disaster was to occur in Gaza (the world’s largest open-air prison), the devastation would be immeasurable. With no access to aid, reliable medical assistance, and lack of functioning infrastructure due to decades of Israeli bombing, the people of Gaza would be further displaced.

To help our comrades in KZN re-build please donate to their relief efforts:

Account name: ABAHLALIBASEMJONDOLO MOVEMENT SA
Bank Name: First National Bank
Account no.: 6278 6238 230
Reference: KZN Floods Relief

Yours in solidarity,

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance 

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