Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has announced a solidarity relief fund to revive the tourism industry after the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and other affected provinces across the country.
The flood disaster in KwaZulu-Natal has left a trail of damage – with the tourism sector also being hit hard.
The floods have claimed the lives of over 400 people and left several others injured and homeless.
Sisulu who has just returned from an international tourism Indaba in Philippines addressed the media in Durban.
“Bulk of that will be coming from cutting our own budget and Minister of Finance will make use of that in cutting what has been allocated to us to create the Solidarity Fund. So we have clear guidelines in place in which people will claim from the Solidarity Fund. But specifically in relation with tourism, we had relations with COVID – we were allowed by government to create what was called Tourism Recovery Fund.”
Reconstruction of key infrastructure is expected to start after the mop-up operations are completed. It has been described as the worst flood disaster in the province’s history and far more severe than the floods of 1987 which left 60 people dead.
The unprecedented heavy rainfall over a number of days led to flooding, mudslides, and structural damage. Record rainfall figures were recorded in many parts of the province.
Experts warned that this was a sign of climate change. The province estimates that more than 100 000 people were affected, thousands of whom were left homeless and suffered damage to their properties.
Durban and surrounding areas were the worst affected. Early estimates indicate that the losses in the agricultural sector amount to at least R500 million.
Repairs to road infrastructure to move produce from farms were identified as one of the most urgent interventions. The provincial government said its main priority was to save lives and provide humanitarian assistance.
While recovery efforts continue, relief organisations, churches, and communities continue to assist those in need.
According to the government, work was being done to clear roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure.
The container terminals in the port of Durban are operating at 60 to 100%.
Citrus exporters have welcomed the contingency plans made to allow trucks to access the harbour.
Power supply has been restored to some areas in the Ethekwini Metro, according to the latest reports. While water supply has been restored in some areas, municipalities are ensuring that emergency water supplies and water tankers reach areas where repairs are ongoing.
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says her department will assist businesses affected:
Below is the playlist of videos on the KZN and Eastern Cape floods: