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South Africa declares drought disaster in five provinces

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Emaciated cattle are seen through the dried up Umfolozi River in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, November 9, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

South Africa has declared a drought disaster in five provinces as the dry season leaves farmers in financial peril and threatens food security across the country.

The government announced on Monday that the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and Free State have been severely affected by the drought.

The drought has also left people in many parts of the country struggling with water shortages. It has mostly affected farmers, who have been unable to harvest crops or feed livestock.

The city of Johannesburg has also been hit hard, where the water shortage has been worsened by extraordinary demand.

Officials say the water shortage is due to an ongoing heat wave and also a lack of rain. Residents have been urged to save water as the heat wave is expected to last until the end of summer due to the El Nino effect on the climate.

El Nino is characterized by the warming of surface waters in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, which is connected to drought in Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia and heavy rains in South America.

South Africa is experiencing its worst drought since 1982, with over 2.7 million households facing water shortages nationwide.

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