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S.African towns cut water supply after years of drought
by AFP Staff Writers
Johannesburg (AFP) June 13, 2022

A South African municipality on Monday imposed six-hour daily water outages, as reservoirs risk "Day Zero" when they run dry after years of droughts.

Kouga, a southern municipality of six towns and 120,000 people, said the cuts are expected to last eight weeks, after one of the region's four reservoirs dried up.

"We're implementing water shedding as of this morning everyday. Between 10 am and four pm, water will be cut off," Kouga deputy mayor Hattingh Bornman told AFP.

"It's not a long-term solution for us. It's only precautionary, to make sure we have enough water for the foreseeable future."

During the water cuts, the stricken region will rely on boreholes and other underground water sources.

Kouga lies near Gqeberha, a southern city of 1.1 million people formerly known as Port Elizabeth. The auto and pharmaceutical hub is expected to see water rationing soon.

The region has had below normal rains over the past seven years, a "clear manifestation of climate change", according to national government.

The waters cuts raised the spectre of "Day Zero", a term coined in 2018 when Cape Town taps nearly ran dry after a multi-year drought.

Water levels in the region are at an all-time low.

The Impofu dam has dried up, according to official information supplied to AFP. Nearby dam Churchill has 11 days of water left. Both supply Gqeberha and the surrounding municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay.

"Nelson Mandela Bay is currently experiencing severe drought-induced water crisis, compounded by ageing infrastructure, susceptible to regular water leaks," Luvuyo Bangazi, who is coordinating the water crisis communications task team, told AFP.

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has described the water crisis as "very dire".

"The emptiness of the dams and overall water scarcity in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality is nothing short of a horror," he said in a June 3 statement.

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Dying children reflect brutal toll of Somalia drought
Mogadishu (AFP) June 9, 2022
Arbay Mahad Qasim has already lost two children to a vicious drought, and now the Somali villager fears she could lose a third as her malnourished toddler Ifrah awaits treatment in a Mogadishu hospital. Barely out of her teens, Qasim is among dozens of weary parents crowding Banadir Maternity & Children Hospital, which has become ground zero for the starvation crisis sweeping across Somalia as a record drought grips the Horn of Africa. Entire villages have been forced to uproot their lives and f ... read more

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