Zimbabwe: Landslides following heavy rain hit Kariba

Landslides pound areas around town of Kariba, country's largest dam, endangering communities there

Jeffrey Moyo   | 01.03.2021
Zimbabwe: Landslides following heavy rain hit Kariba File Photo

HARARE, Zimbabwe

Landslides in Zimbabwe have hit places around the resort town of Kariba, including the country's largest dam, following incessant heavy rains.

The debris caused by landslides has covered roads, with rocks on mountains being loosened up by rain also falling off, endangering communities and local motorists on roads.

Nearby villagers and residents in Kariba have expressed their fears over the landslides.

“We are living in fear of the landslides because our homes are just below the hills from which rocks are rolling down due to the landslides,” Patrick Chengoma, a 43-year-old Kariba resident told Anadolu Agency.

Even motorists in the resort town have said they have not been spared by the landslides.

“We now have to thread our way driving through rocks that have fallen on the roads here. It’s getting dangerous,” said a motorist, Lindiwe Masotsha, who lives in Kariba.

According to Zimbabwe's Meteorological Services Department, after the rains pounded Kariba on Friday and Saturday, the area recorded 53-80 millimeters (2-3.1 inches) of rainfall in 24 hours.

Previously, the Zambezi River Authority, which manages the Zambezi River and the Kariba Dam, had estimated that with good rains, the national power-generating water body would fill up in 2023.

But now, the dam could get filled up much earlier, with readings at three gauging sites at the Kariba Dam showing increased rainfall patterns in the past few days, especially between Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kariba stands out in between mountains and hills, which meteorologists have attributed to the rocks and mud being loosened and rolling down from the mountains amid the abnormal rains.

Also, reports from the Zambezi River Authority have shown that the dam's water levels now stand at 479 meters (1,571 feet) above minimum operating levels for power generation, gaining nearly 3 meters (9.8 feet) above the last year’s levels.

With landslides pounding the Kariba area, the Southern African nation’s Meteorological Services Department has warned of flooding owing to the perpetual rains.

Even a recent forecast by the meteorological department has shown that there will be moderate temperatures in Kariba in the coming days amid possibilities of moderate rain and scattered thunderstorms.

With the Kariba Dam located along the Zambezi River bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambian Meteorological Department has also warned of flooding in the country’s southern parts.

“This projected increase in rainfall over the southern half of the country may give rise to flooding in western, southern, and central areas, as well as the capital Lusaka and the province of Copperbelt,” said the meteorological authority.

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