Mozambique News Agency

Floods update - 28th March 2001

Cahora Bassa reduces discharges

Maputo, 28 Mar (AIM) - There was some relief for flooded areas in the Zambezi valley in central Mozambique on Tuesday, when the Cahora Bassa dam, far from opening a fifth floodgate, as had been feared, reduced the amount of water leaving the fourth gate.

According to Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the discharges from Cahora Bassa fell from 8,300 to 7,400 cubic metres a second.

Pressure on the dam is beginning to relax - the level of the dam lake has fallen somewhat, from the 327.43 metres above sea level recorded on Monday, back to 327.38 metres on Tuesday. This is still considerably above the theoretical maximum level of 326 metres.

The level of the Zambezi at Tete city fell from 6.48 metres on Monday to 6.21 metres on Tuesday. However, further downstream the river is still rising, thanks largely to the weekend flood surge from Cahora Bassa.

"Noticias" claims that the government run accommodation centres for the Zambezi valley flood victims are becoming congested as more people leave potentially dangerous areas - the paper suggests that they are leaving because they have exhausted their food reserves.

Since many roads have been cut by the floods, food and other supplies for the flood victims are being transported by air. Currently there are 16 helicopters and light aircraft available for this work.

Further south, the Beira-Zimbabwe road is still banned to traffic on the stretch between Mutua and Tica, about 60 kilometres west of Beira, which has been invaded by the flood waters of the Pungue river.

The level of the Pungue fell between Monday and Tuesday from 8.74 to 8.65 metres, but this reduction was not enough to allow the start of emergency repair work on the road. (AIM)

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