Free State, one of the South African provinces hardest hit by the severe drought, has had good rains over the past three days, providing much relief.

The severe drought, the worst in many years, has seen food prices rise and dam levels drop to dangerously low levels but the recent rains have seen an improvement and turnaround at some dams. Some farmers were forced to sell their cattle to survive.

However, rain is expected to bring more relief to the three provinces over the next few days.

South African Weather Service forecaster Tumi Phathudi said Wednesday: We are expecting these cloudy conditions to remain throughout the day with a watch for heavy rains in the North West, Northern Cape and western parts of the Free State. They will remain on Thursday with scattered showers and thundershowers.

Emergency services in the Free State remain on high alert.

In terms of readiness for floods, we have equipment and have trained officers who are on standby who will respond irrespective of where in the province and neighbouring provinces they are. We are in possession of a boat and advanced skilled swimmers, said Emergency Management Service (EMS) Manager Sipho Towa.

Residents are ecstatic about the rain. We are happy with the rains. It has been dry and many people lost their jobs at farms. We are happy because the rain has come at the right time when we need it. We are happy, said one resident.

With good rains forecast there is growing optimism that there will be relief in the drought-ravaged areas.


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