South Africa suspended shipping at its main port in Durban after the heaviest rains in more than six decades and the resultant flooding damaged roads leading to the harbour.
Operations at Durban Terminals were suspended on Monday night, Transnet said in an emailed statement. The KwaZulu-Natal port is a key trade route for South Africa’s landlocked neighbours including Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
At least 45 people may have been killed by the flooding, Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA reported. Local media reports showed videos and images of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S-labeled shipping containers adrift in the water.
The N3 highway that connects Johannesburg to Durban was closed to southbound traffic because of debris on the road caused by flooding, KwaZulu-Natal’s Transport Department said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a key entrance to the Durban port, known as Bayhead Road, which runs along a canal, has had large parts of the road washed away, with piping and electrical cables now exposed. Nearby trucks can be seen partially submerged while flooding is threatening warehouses close to the canals.
Thekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda confirmed that most of the city’s electricity power stations have been flooded and our teams were unable to access them [on Monday night]. There are certain water treatment plants that have been damaged, including those that belong to Umgeni water.