Amathole municipality declared drought disaster area

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As severe drought continues to grip large parts of the Eastern Cape province posing a catastrophic threat to food security and animals, Amathole District Municipal council has declared the municipality a drought disaster area.

Dams and rivers in areas like Xilinxa, Dutywa, Bedford, Adelaide, Dwesa and Qwaninga only have few days of water before they completely run dry, the municipality announced.

Residents of Butterworth fetch water from a communal tap as Amathole district Municipality is declared a disaster zone. Picture: SILUSAPHO NYANDA

Over 120 communal tanks have been distributed in drought-stricken areas in Butterworth, Bika and Centane. A total of 16 water tankers are carting water to the affected areas delivering two to three loads each a day.

ADM mayor Nomfusi Nxawe said dam levels are fast running dry by each hour despite “significant” rainfall in the past few weeks. “The situation is so dire that we are earnestly on our knees praying for rainfall in the next few days as long-term weather forecast show no sign of rain in the near future.” The declaration was made during an ordinary council meeting on Friday at Calgary Conference Centre in East London. “The council unanimously agreed to re-declare Amathole District Municipality (ADM) a disaster area owing to resilient drought situation in the district,” Nxawe said.

“We are in consultation with the national government and hoping for a speedy and sustainable solution.”

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