In South Africa, many farmers are facing disaster, with drought gripping large areas and crops withering in once-fertile land.
GV Dry ground with village in background, in KwaZulu, South Africa.
GV PAN Cracked earth.
GV HIGH ANGLE PAN Trickle of water in river bed.
GV ZOOM IN TO SV Water truck pumping up from river bed.
GV Dry earth ZOOM IN TO dead crops.
GV Ambulance & CU mother and child receiving aid. (2 SHOTS)
MS PULL OUT TO GV African with hose pouring water into tank from truck.
GV & CU Cattle in village sucking sap from tree branches PULL BACK TO GV cattle. (2 SHOTS)
GV Mother and child walk past camera with donkeys.
GV Village on arid plain with SV cattle grazing PULL BACK TO GV village. (4 SHOTS)
Nationwide, sugarcane production in South Africa is expected to drop this year by 430,000 tonnes, down from 2.08 million tonnes in 1979. The country may have to import wheat for the first time in a decade.
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Background: In South Africa, many farmers are facing disaster, with drought gripping large areas and crops withering in once-fertile land. The Red Cross and other agencies have launched a relief operation to help Zulus in KwaZulu, the Bantu Homeland, where crops have died and cattle are starving. Some five hundred tonnes of vitamin-enriched suffering from Kwashiorkor, the crippling protein-deficiency disease. The KwaZulu government has spent more than six million Rand (almost eight million US dollars) on drought relief so far this year, twenty-four times more than in 1979, also a drought year.
SYNOPSIS: KwaZulu is one of eight national units that South Africa established with its bantu Self-Government Act in 1959. It's situated in natal province, and contains such historic places as Ladysmith and Rorke's Drift. The drought is the worst in memory, with the drying up of traditional water sources that tribespeople have used for generations. Bulk water tankers have gone into remoter areas, and cane farmers have been carting water into villages surrounding their estates.
Malnutrition is spreading. But it's always a problem here -- caused by poverty, unemployment, lack of education and poor soil. Relief agencies don't know how bad it's likely to become.
In normal years, KwaZulu enjoys some of the best rainfalls in South Africa, one reason why few dams and boreholes have been built there -- intensifying the disaster.
According to the agriculture director of the KwaZulu Development Corporation, one hundred thousand cattle have died already this year. He predicts the figure could rise by the end of the year to half a million -- or a quarter of the entire Zulu herd.
Large areas of the region are turning into a dustbowl, with a real threat of widespread famine unless abundant rains fall in the next few months. Even with government help they're receiving, it will take black sugarcane planters years to recoup losses, with production likely to be a meagre half million tonnes this year.