During a media briefing on Sunday, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said the greatest impact of the disaster in the province has been on human beings who have passed away, but he said the greatest cost of the disaster has been on infrastructure that has been destroyed.
Zikalala was updating the media on the progress made in the province following the recent devastating floods which claimed the lives of 435 people.
Following a request from the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in the wake of the devastating floods in the province to have a national state of disaster declared, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 18 April that cabinet has decided to grant this request.
Speaking during his first national address related to the KZN floods on April 18, the president said the national state of disaster for the KZN floods enables the mobilisation of more resources and as such, cabinet felt that a provincial state of disaster was inadequate.
As of Sunday, 17 488 households have been affected by the disaster wherein 121 687 people were affected. To date, 485 people have lost their lives while 54 are still reported missing.
Zikalala said a total of 6 278 people are currently homeless and that 7 245 remain in shelters in eThekwini.
Construction of residential temporary units has started, with 4 000 temporary residential units to be ready by the end of the week. Zikalala said they are expecting to start building houses in 6 months as temporary units can’t become permanent.
Most of the roads in KZN are open, but Zikalala warned that some roads are unsafe to use and have only one lane for traffic.
He said their objective is to ensure that all areas have water, electricity and road access restored as soon as possible so that normality is restored in all parts of the province.
This will come at a great cost, as more than R1.9 billion is needed to complete the work for disaster relief.
The Port of Durban has also gradually resumed operations to discharge, and food, medical supplies and petrol has been prioritised.
A committee to deal with funerals has been established, with AFBOB having donated R3 million to assist families.
On Saturday, the eThekwini Municipality announced that water restrictions would be implemented in the North, South and Inner West with immediate effect.
This was done to stabilise the system and to ensure that reservoirs have enough water supply and to prevent them from going empty.
On Sunday, Zikalala said it may take six months to rebuild the facility in Tongaat, but they are hoping that (the supply of) electricity will not take that long.