Posted to the web February 7, 2007
Major flooding is imminent along the Zambezi river and its two main tributaries, the Shire and the Revobue, warned the Mozambican government in a statement issued on Tuesday night. The level of the Zambezi will continue to rise over the next few days "endangering people, property and economic and social infrastructures located in the most vulnerable areas". The immediate cause is the huge increase in the water pouring into Mozambique from the Upper Zambezi basin. Measured at Zumbo, on the border with Zimbabwe, the amount of water entering Cahora Bassa lake rosefrom about 6,000 to over 10,000 cubic metres a second, in the space of 72 hours. This forced the management of the Cahora Bassa dam to increase the discharges from the dam floodgates from about 3,500 cubic metres a second on Saturday to 5,170 cubic metres a second on Tuesday. The dam operating company has warned that if rains continue upstream, then on Wednesday it will increase the discharges to 6,000 cubic metres a second. The flooding, along with the storms and heavy rains that hit parts of the country over the past two months put the total death toll at 29. 4,677 houses, 111 classrooms, and 4 health centres have been destroyed. Many fields have been submerged. In all, these natural disasters have affected 46,500 people.