South Africa declares “state of national disaster” because of drought

The Government of South Africa has declared itself as a “state of national disaster” because of the drought that affects the town of Cape Town and other parts of the country, as reported by the local newspaper ‘News24’.

The Minister of Traditional Affairs and Cooperative Governance, Zweli Mkhiza, has revealed that the Government can access special funds from the Treasury to deal with the situation. “As the minister responsible for disaster management, I have recognized that there are special circumstances and I have decided to declare the drought as a state of national disaster,” he stressed. He has also called on the population to continue saving water and modifying their habits to reduce the waste of water resources in the country.

The drought in South Africa began two years ago because of the climatic phenomenon ‘El NiƱo’, but in recent months it has become more acute to the point that the Government finally opted in February to reclassify the situation of “national disaster”.

The authorities have been anticipating a crisis of this kind for months. An example of this is that the City of Cape Town, one of the most important cities in the country, has already set its ‘zero day’, in which the water reserves will be finished.

Wemmershoek dam, Cape Town

Cape Town has delayed its ‘zero day’ until June 4, date in which its four million inhabitants will have to queue to receive their daily water supply, if the situation does not improve. This week consumption has fallen to 526 million liters per day, the first time it falls below 550. The South Africans have taken measures to avoid the dreaded ‘zero day’. The hotels in Cape Town have asked their guests to limit the showers, while some restaurants have started use disposable cups, dinnerware and cutlery.

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