The South African government on Sunday received humanitarian aid from Qatar to help it deal with the devastation caused by floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
The aid includes food, clothing and medical supplies.
A plane carrying the aid landed at King Shaka International Airport in Durban on Sunday.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala were at the airport to receive the humanitarian aid.
Dlamini-Zuma praised Qatar for the aid.
“A good friend is an all-weather friend, they are the first country to help us,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
“Countries do not live in isolation; this is part of human international solidarity. What we are experiencing today is true international friendship from the people and government of Qatar,” she added.
Zikalala said the aid from Qatar will go towards the people of KZN who lost their homes and possessions during the floods.
“What we have received today will go to the affected people who are in shelters who need support on a daily basis. More than 7,000 people are expected to benefit from the contributions of food and clothing,” he said.
Dlamini-Zuma said that those affected by the floods cannot stay in shelters forever.
“We have started moving some of the people from shelters to temporary residential units. The process is a bit slow because we need to get new land to put them on.”
She said if they returned to the same place there is a risk that a flood will hit them again in the future.
Qatar’s ambassador to South Africa, Tariq Ali Faraj al-Ansari, said South Africa has previously supported Qatar in times of hardship.
“No country is resilient to resist climate change but these things happen. I’m sure that South Africa is strong and will be able to overcome this,” he said.
Zikalala added the death toll from the floods in KZN has climbed to 459. This comes after a second round of floods hit the province in early May.
“The situation has been devastating… We have 459 people who passed on due to the floods. We still have 88 people who are missing with R25 billion in damage to infrastructure incurred,” said Zikala.
He said search and rescue teams were still looking for people that are missing.
This comes as the South African Weather Service (Saws) issued a warning that strong and damaging winds will hit the coastal areas of KZN on Monday morning.
It said the eThekwini, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Mfolozi, Ray Nkonyeni, Umdoni and Mlazi areas will be affected.
Saws warned that harbours and ports might be affected. It also said there is a possibility that coastal infrastructure like pipelines, property, roads and rail routes might be damaged.