Satellite images show KZN unrest – and its consequences – visible from space
- Satellite images captured the scale and aftermath of looting in KwaZulu-Natal.
- People descending on a meat cold storage facility, a burned out mall, and arson scars on a highway were all clearly visible.
- See the view of South Africa's bout of unrest from space.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Satellite images have captured some of the scale and lasting consequences of looting and arson in KwaZulu-Natal last week, as parts of the province saw riots on a massive scale.
The view from space captured both the impact of the violence, and results, such as long food lines.
New satellite imagery captured today, July 16, shows the scale of recent violence & looting in the South African city of Pietermaritzburg. Dozens of food stores have been looted while long lines of people can be seen waiting to get food outside the few open supermarkets. pic.twitter.com/HDf8RCLEb3— Maxar Technologies (@Maxar) July 16, 2021
Imagery from Earth data and analytics company Planet also show crowds, burnt out malls, and trucks huddled together in safety.
See what some of the unrest in South Africa looked like from space.
The sheer scale of looting was visible at some places due to crowds and traffic congestion.
Ayoba Cold Storage, a key part of the meat processing chain, was classified as "all stock lost". The warehouse has space for 8,000 pallets, and is not expected to be operational again for at least six months.
The facility, on the outskirts of Chesterville outside Durban, operates 24 hours a day, with a regular flow of traffic – so in ordinary circumstances it looks all but deserted from space.
Destruction of large malls – several of which were set on fire before, during, or after looting – is also clear from space.
The Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg went up in spectacular flames, with firefighters reporting people were still emptying shelves as they attempted to contain the fire.
Brookside is "closed until further notice".
Scars on roads – and full truck parks – showed the impact of rioting on the transport system.
Dozen of trucks were torched at Mooi River, a bottleneck on the most direct routes between Johannesburg and Durban. Days later the evidence of that arson and looting were still visible from space, as was the full carpark of a truck stop, which normally sees short stops rather than crowds of vehicles unable to continue their journeys.
(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)
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