People, Environment

Severe Drought Grips S. Africa

Severe Drought Grips S. AfricaSevere Drought Grips S. Africa

After one of the driest rainy seasons on record, Africa’s most developed economy is in the grip of a severe drought.

The drought has placed a strain on water supplies across South Africa, affecting 2.7 million households.

The hardest hit are those living in rural areas, where residents have to collect water in buckets once a day, Al Jazeera reports.

With the drought persisting, South Africa has now declared five of its nine provinces a drought disaster for agriculture.

The lack of rain has had a dramatic impact on crops. According to Senzeni Zokwana, the agriculture minister, the average maize yield has been the lowest since 2008.

South Africa has failed to produce enough maize to export to neighboring Botswana and Swaziland.

This means that not only will prices be forced to rise locally, but Zokwana claimed that if the drought persisted, it could become a regional disaster.

South Africa often suffers a drought during an El Nino event, and the current El Nino is one of the strongest on record, and is still strengthening. This is the country’s worst drought since 1982.

This is not good news for the provinces of the northwest, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga, which are the worst hit by the drought.

In these provinces, the majority of the rain falls between October and March, but with El Nino expected to dominate the weather for the coming months, the prospect of decent rainfall looks slim.