Mozambique News Agency

Floods update - 27th March 2001

Less water entering Cahora Bassa lake

Maputo, 27 Mar (AIM) - The level of water entering the Cahora Bassa lake in Mozambique's western province of Tete is now declining, thus easing the pressure on the Cahora Bassa dam, discharges from which are one of the major determinants of the severity of flooding on the lower Zambezi.

According to the National Water Board (DNA), cited in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the amount of water entering the lake fell from 12,327 cubic metres a second last Thursday, to 11,437 on Friday, 10,338 on Saturday, and 9,731 cubic metres a second on Sunday.

But this is still more than the dam is releasing. Four of the eight flood gates are open, discharging 8,300 cubic metres a second.

With more water entering than leaving, the level of the lake is continuing to rise. At the dam wall, the lake was measured at 327.38 metres on Monday - considerably higher than the 326 metres which is supposed to mark the lake's maximum capacity. This could force the opening of a fifth floodgate.

All along the middle and lower Zambezi, the river remains well above flood alert level, and the flood surge from Cahora Bassa is expected to make matters worse.

In Zambezia province, the local branch of the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) has issued fresh warnings to people living in the three districts on the north bank of the river (Morrumbala, Mopeia and Chinde), urging them to move away from areas that are at risk.

The INGC says that further food and other essential supplies are being dropped by air to places throughout the Zambezi valley where the floods have made access by road impossible. Currently food aid is being distributed to 120,000 people in the central provinces (an increase on the 108,000 who required food aid earlier in the month).(AIM)


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