Sunday, 17 April 2022 10:29

Ramaphosa postpones Saudi Arabia trip to focus on devastating floods in KZN.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has postponed a visit to Saudi Arabia to focus on government's intervention in flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal.

Ramaphosa was due to leave for the kingdom on Tuesday but has put the trip on hold.

In a statement, Presidency said the postponement allows the President to continue to meet with Ministers on the situation in the flood-ravaged province and to assess how the different spheres of government, in partnership with civil society organisations and communities, are addressing the crisis.

Ramaphosa said: "The loss of nearly 400 lives and thousands of homes, as well as the economic impact and the destruction of infrastructure, calls for all hands on deck.

"As government, we are standing by the people of KwaZulu-Natal through the provision of social and material support to thousands of households and a vast number of businesses that have been affected by this catastrophe, said the president.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was deployed to the province this week.

In light of the recent incident events, the president said government was pulling out all the stops to deal with the situation in the province to support residents as well as affected businesses.

Assessments on the total cost of the flood damage is still being carried out by disaster management teams.

The national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has declared KZN as a provincial disaster area.

This is after the magnitude and severity of the impact of the floods in various parts of the province was assessed.

The head of the national disaster management centre, Dr Mmaphaka Tau, gazetted the declaration on Wednesday afternoon.