Units of the South African National Defence Force have deployed to two drought-stricken districts in the south to the county to assist disaster management officials provided potable water to residents.
Defence Force spokesman Colonel Petrus Motlhabane says the SANDF Joint Tactical Headquarters West (Cape Town) has deployed 12 soldiers and four water bunkers to the Eden District Municipality (Sedgefield) and the SANDF Joint Tactical Headquarters East (Port Elizabeth) has dispatched 21 troops and six water transports to Amatole District Municipality (Adelaide and Fort Beaufort).
He adds that both municipalities are experiencing water shortages and are currently unable to meet the daily requirement of residents, prompting local disaster management structures to seek SANDF assistance.
“Operation HUMAN, the SANDF operation in support of both municipalities was launched on 25 January in the Eden District Municipality and on 28 January in the Amatole District Municipality.
Help to Sedgefield follows the local river running dry on 22 January and reserves in reservoirs subsequently also running out. “This resulted in water shortages in the Eden District Municipality. Local authorities have several water tankers, but are unable to meet the daily requirement,” Motlhabane says.
“As of 30 January, 367 000 litres of drinking water has been supplied to the town`s main reservoir by SANDF teams, using 4 water bunkers”.
In the Amatole district municipality, the SANDF has thus far provided 137 000 litres of water, pumped from the Fish River and transported to the Adelaide water purification plant.
HUMAN is scheduled to continue until 28 February, when the situation on the ground will be re-accessed.