In early March, engineers at a conference organised by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA, a Zambia-Zimbabwe organisation that manages the Kariba dam) warned that the 128-metre-high dam could collapse, threatening at least 3.5 million people, especially in Mozambique and Malawi.
Years of erosion had made the foundations of the dam weaker, engineers said. “Anything is possible, so there is a need to act to avoid risk and minimise panic,” Modibo Traoré, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) in Zimbabwe, told IRIN. The Kariba dam holds one of the largest man-made expanses of water in the world.
The ZRA says the “situation at the Kariba dam wall is a cause for grave concern”, and “all urgency is expected in order to avert any such catastrophe as dam failure”. It acknowledged the need for major repairs.
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