South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a state of disaster with immediate effect to deal with the country’s severe electricity crisis including prolonged daily power blackouts.

“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. The energy crisis is an existential threat to our economy and social fabric,” said Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address Thursday night.

The declaration of a state of disaster comes as rolling power cuts of up to 8 hours per day are hitting homes, factories and businesses across the nation of 60 million, according to AP.

The state of disaster is an emergency measure previously implemented to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the deadly floods that killed over 400 people last year.

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