South Africa: Eastern Cape - 'The Worst Drought in a Thousand Years'


Cape Town may have avoided Day Zero, but there are parts of South Africa that have not, particularly several Karoo towns in the Eastern Cape that have run out of water. Boreholes and dams have dried up, taps have run dry and the rain stays away, reducing farms to dust and threatening communities. Maverick Citizen spent the last week in the towns of Graaff-Reinet, Bedford, Makhanda and Adelaide. Many residents wonder why Cape Town's water crisis got national attention while they are getting very little.

Weather forecasters are not predicting much rain for these areas before December, with climatologists saying the weather is becoming more difficult to predict and that the prospects are "dire". With no rain or other solution in sight, donors have stepped in to drill boreholes and provide drinking water for communities hit by extreme water-shedding.

It is 2pm on Tuesday afternoon when traffic officials lead the Gift of the Givers' truck driver, Rashied Prins, and the big interlink truck to the uMasasaki township in Graaff-Reinet. "Water! Amanzi!" the traffic officer shouts over his loudspeaker. People come running. They are in overalls and...

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