Mozambique News Agency

Floods update - 10th March 2001

Cahora Bassa reduces discharges

Maputo, 10 Mar (AIM) - In an attempt to mitigate flooding on the lower Zambezi, the Cahora Bassa dam in the western Mozambican province of Tete has reduced its discharges from over 8,000 to 6,400 cubic metres of water a second, according to Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

One of the directors of the dam operating company, HCB, Goncalves Guedes, told the paper that the amount of discharges inevitably depends on how full the dam lake is.

"If we receive more water, then logically we will be obliged to open more floodgates, but we will do everything in coordination with the National Water Board (DNA)", he said.

DNA and HCB delegations met at the dam town of Songo on Friday and agreed on measures for the weekly adjustment of Cahora Bassa discharges, adapted to the needs of the situation further downstream.

But much will depend on how much water the Kariba dam, on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border, releases. The DNA and HCB delegations therefore agreed to put a series of proposals to the Zambezi River Authority, which is in charge of Kariba, seeking to reduce the pressure on Cahora Bassa.

Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi visited Cahora Bassa on Thursday, and praised HCB for the way it had handled the discharges from the dam. This, he believed had "prevented the worst" on the lower Zambezi.

Meanwhile the meteorological office (INAM) is keeping an eye in the tropical storm which is still in the Mozambique Channel.

On Friday, the storm, classified as a tropical depression, drifted away from the mainland and towards the coast of Madagascar. But it is expected to move south-southwest, towards the coast of the Mozambican provinces of Sofala and Inhambane. By Sunday it could be bringing showers and strong winds to coastal areas of Gaza and Maputo provinces.

INAM warns that the storm will affect shipping in the Mozambique Channel, with poor visibility, and waves five metres high. (AIM)

More US support for flood victims

Maputo, 10 Mar (AIM) - The US government on Friday made available a further 726,000 dollars to support the victims of flooding in Mozambique.

A press release from the US embassy states that the additional support is in response to the Mozambican government's appeal to the international community requesting further assistance in order to cope with the flood crisis in the central provinces.

The release said the money will be used to distribute emergency supplies, and to provide health care and clean drinking water in the accommodation centres that are now housing many thousands of people displaced from their homes.

The additional funds, provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Office for Disaster Assistance, brings to a million dollars the total amount of US aid so far allotted to flood relief work in Mozambique. (AIM)

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