Operations at South Africa’s Port of Durban have slowly restarted, after deadly floods forced a suspension of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest container hub, KwaZulu-Natal province’s Premier Sihle Zikalala said in a briefing on Sunday.
“The port has gradually resumed operations to discharge and food, medical supplies and petrol has been prioritized, said Zikalala.” Durban, which is the biggest city in the KwaZulu-Natal province, experienced the heaviest rains in six decades.
The Port of Durban handles 60% of the country’s shipments and transporting of goods and commodities to and from nations in the region as far north as the Democratic Republic of Congo. KwaZulu-Natal province is the second-biggest contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product.
After the catastrophic floods, South Africa will need R1.9 billion ($120 million) to complete disaster relief work, Zikalala said.
Africa’s most developed economy allocated a billion rand to date for disaster funds, after declaring a national state of disaster earlier this week. Floods have killed 485 people, and left the province with significant infrastructure damage.
The South African army has deployed 10,000 troops to help with search and rescue efforts, delivery of food and water, and to help rebuild collapsed roads and bridges. Water tankers have been sent to areas to ensure the supply of clean water, and work is underway to restore electricity.
The government will set up 4,000 temporary residential units by the end of the week, said Zikalala, with more permanent housing expected within six to eight months. Fifty four people remain missing, with search and rescue efforts continuing, said Zikalala.