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Operations at Durban port have slowly restarted, after deadly floods forced a suspension of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest container hub, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said in a briefing on Sunday. 

“The port has gradually resumed operations to discharge, and food, medical supplies and petrol have been prioritised,” said Zikalala. Durban 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 Democratic Republic of Congo. KwaZulu-Natal is the second-biggest contributor to SA’s GDP.

After the catastrophic floods, SA will need R1.9bn to complete disaster relief work, Zikalala said. 

SA has allocated R1bn 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 SA National Defence Force 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 under way 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.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com



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