South Africa (MNN) — It sounds like the setting for an apocalyptic fiction novel. But the approach of ‘Day Zero’ for Cape Town in South Africa is far from fiction.
Government officials estimate by the end of April, the city of Cape Town will run out of water — a day they are referring to as Day Zero.
The three-year drought is considered the worst South Africa has seen in over a century. If the water is depleted, Cape Town will be one of the few major cities in the modern world to run dry.
Starting this month, Cape Town residents face hiked fines if they exceed their daily water rations, which dropped from 87 liters per person, per day to just 50 liters. But that daily limit would be slashed in half again after Day Zero. Officials are in a race against time to increase groundwater production and desalination plants.
Danie du Preez with Trans World Radio Africa (TWR) says, “If Day Zero comes, I think [we] will be praying for the people of Cape Town to really know how to handle the situation. People in Cape Town are not used to fetching water. There will be 200 water points in Cape Town for people to collect the minimum water per person, which will be 25 liters. So they will need to [carry] 25-liter cans, and they need to wait in queues to get water, go back home, and do that on a daily basis.”
The Most Vulnerable
State officials assure that if the city reaches Day Zero, schools, hospitals, and other critical businesses will still get piped water, but the amount will be severely scaled down.
A big concern is for those most vulnerable in the Cape Town metropole community — families living in rural areas, the elderly, and young kids.
“Many parents are concerned for the children. I know they are speaking of maybe sending children up to the north…where at least they will be there for a period of time until the situation gets better,” shares du Preez.
“I think the other big concern is where it could be possible that riots could break out for people not able to handle the pressure and the situation.”
Christians Gathering for Prayer
Christians in Cape Town have gathered throughout the past several months to pray for their community and for the Lord to send rain. The next large-scale prayer gathering called “It’s Time” will be on March 24th.
Du Preez explains, “The Body of Christ will gather and pray specifically for issues within Cape Town, but specifically for the weather situation and for the water crisis. All South African Christians are really trusting…for the Lord to come through. But I think the biggest concern is what will happen after Day Zero. And we trust the Lord Day Zero will never come, that he will intervene.”
“It’s Time” is organized by farmer evangelist Angus Buchan and promoted by other ministries. The location for the massive prayer gathering is yet to be determined. If you would like to stay up-to-date on the event, click here to go to the event’s page.
Meanwhile, TWR is taking this opportunity on their broadcasts in South Africa to interject hope into a distressing situation. Their ministry continues to share the truth of the Gospel and the eternal joy found in Christ, no matter the circumstances. Du Preez says TWR is also collaborating with other ministries in Cape Town to encourage the local Church in prayer and outreach as they approach Day Zero — and pray that it never comes.
“We work with our partners on the ground like Tygerberg 104 FM, the biggest community radio station in the Cape Metropole. They have got about 250,000-300,000 listeners. They are actually taking responsibility within Cape Town to [help] organize this event on the 24th of March. You can ask your listeners to pray specifically on March 24th, that’s a Saturday in the afternoon.”
Please pray with TWR and believers in Cape Town for God to open up the clouds and send rain pouring over the city. Pray for the dams to fill up and for the water reservoirs to be restored.
And, du Preez asks, “If the Body of Christ worldwide can start praying maybe for patience, for endurance, perseverance in this situation, and that the Lord will really help the people to be mature in their behavior, I think that will be crucial.”
(Header photo: Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa [Photo courtesy of Kevin Healy via Unsplash])