MSC Cruises, as part of the wider MSC Foundation operated by parent company MSC Group (Mediterranean Shipping Company) has stepped up to assist the Durban community following last week’s record-breaking flooding.
Durban and the wider province of Kwa-Zulu Natal was hit with five months’ worth of rain in the space of 48 hours last week, causing major flooding and infrastructure damage across much of KZN.
Nearly 4,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 40,000 people displaced by the floods and mudslides caused by prolonged heavy rains, according to the Associated Press.
At least 448 people have been killed, and more than 40 people remain missing and about 600 schools have been damaged, prompting South African President Cyril Ramophosa to declare a national state of disaster and deploy 10,000 South African Defence Force troops to assist in delivering aid and searching for bodies amidst homes buried by mudslides.
Responding to the disaster, the MSC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the MSC Group, which owns MSC Cruises, has announced it will be assisting communities affected by the floods by providing relief such as food parcels, blankets, and other necessities.
The aid will be distributed through reputable NGO’s in KZN, according to a press release from the foundation.
Three MSC-owned ships operating out of Durban will also be requisitioned to supply fresh water from their onboard desalination plants.
MSC Orchestra and two MSC container ships will donate water to communities whose supply has been cut off due to infrastructure damage.
MSC Orchestra has been homeporting in Durban during the 2021/22 summer cruise season, which began in November last year and concludes this month.
Managing director of MSC cruises South Africa, Ross Volk, said that Kwa-Zulu Natal is a key source market for the cruise line, and an area in which the company feels a part of the community.
MSC Cruises has invested heavily in growing its South African footprint, as well as the cruise tourism infrastructure of Durban in particular, most recently with the new KwaZulu Cruise Terminal.
“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families who have been affected by this devastation and our condolences go out to those that have lost loved ones during this period,” said Volk, speaking to The Witness.
“We want to do what we can to help the people of KZN in this time of great need,” he added.