Zimbabwe, Zambia meet over Kariba Dam wall

Zimbabwe’s Civil Protection Unit director Madzudzo Pawadyira told New Ziana that the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) initiated the meeting last month to review and revamp its existing plan on measures to be taken should the dam wall collapse.

“The meeting observed that there was need to involve Mozambican authorities since most of the water from the dam goes to that country,” he said.

Pawadyira said the meeting was a way of planning ahead and was not linked to reports that the dam wall was in danger of collapsing.

“There was nothing sinister about the meeting,” he said.

There have been reports that the architect who designed the Kariba Dam wall committed suicide after four other dams that he designed collapsed. It is alleged that the man took his life for fear that the remaining dam would also collapse and he would be sued for culpable homicide.

Pawadyira, however, dismissed the fears, saying the ZRA sends divers to the bottom of the wall on a regular basis with instruments to test its strength.

He said the authority engaged experts from Europe to test the strength of the wall and these had recently given it a clean bill of health.

A large number of people from Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe live downstream of the Zambezi Valley and would be swept away should the Kariba Dam wall collapse.

The valley experiences floods almost every year and at one time air forces from the region had to be summoned to rescue people who had been marooned.

Pawadyira said his department had information on the time it would take for the water to reach different areas in the valley should the dam collapse.

He said the department was consulting with the Air Force of Zimbabwe to include the plan in the next regional exercises to be conducted.

Meanwhile, Pawadyira said teams would visit areas that were usually affected by floods to educate communities on measures to take in the event of floods.

“We conduct such visits from time to time so that people are not caught unawares,” he said.

Areas susceptible to flooding in Zimbabwe include Hurungwe, Muzarabani, Rushinga and Tsholotsho. ‘ New Ziana.

December 2006
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