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A family negotiates their way through caked mud around a dried-up section of the Theewaterskloof dam near Cape Town, South Africa, on Jan. 20, 2018.

Mike Hutchings/Reuters

South Africa has declared that the drought afflicting Cape Town and other parts of the country is a national disaster.

The government announcement on Tuesday allows officials to more easily direct resources to drought relief and long-term recovery plans.

The government says the drought is especially severe in the three Cape provinces in the south of the country.

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Cape Town warned for months of the threat of “Day Zero,” the date when the city would have to close most water taps because of the drought. However, the opposition party running the city said last week that “Day Zero” might not happen at all this year because of water conservation efforts.

The opposition Democratic Alliance says the government’s declaration of a national disaster should make relief funds available for affected areas.

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