One of the world’s natural wonders, the Victoria Falls, could one day dry up unless urgent action is taken to tackle the climate crisis, the Zambian president has warned.

Edgar Lungu said drought had reduced water levels at the falls, which border Zambia and Zimbabwe, to their lowest in 25 years.

Both countries have suffered power cuts as they are heavily reliant on hydropower from plants at the Kariba dam, which sits on the Zambezi river upstream of the waterfalls. 

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

While the falls typically dry up occasionally during the dry season, officials said this year had brought unprecedented decline in water levels.

The average flow over the falls in 2019 is down by almost 50 per cent, according to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Environment, Climate and Tourism.

In an interview with Sky News in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, Mr Lungu said: “Do we want to want to pass on the Zambezi without the mighty Victoria Falls? Do we want to pass on Africa and the next generation without the mighty Victoria Falls? Is that what we want? There are practices and measures we can take now.”

In October, the Zambian president tweeted a picture the falls’ with barely a trickle of water descending the dry rock face. The falls are more famously known as a wall of cascading water, up to a kilometre wide, which draws hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.

“These pictures of the Victoria Falls are a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment and our livelihood,” wrote Mr Lungu. “It is with no doubt that developing countries like Zambia are the most impacted by climate change and the least able to afford its consequences.”

This week Zimbabwe’s tourism authority denied the falls were at risk of disappearing amid fears the publicity could deter visitors.

“It’s normal to have low water this time of the year but the falls will never dry in our lifetime. We haven’t had as much water as we have had in the past years but it’s not dry,” said board member Blessing Munyenyiwa, in comments reported by The Chronicle newspaper.

Only the best news in your inbox

Register with your social account or click here to log in

But Elisha Moyo, principal climate change researcher at the country’s environment ministry, said the disappearance of the falls was a “serious possibility”.

“It’s a worry,” he told the BBC’s Hardtalk last month. “Maybe one year there will be no falls completely, no water.”

He added the falls drying up would mean the loss of Zimbabwe’s “tourism trump card” but would also affect animals reliant on the Zambezi’s water supply.

Droughts in southern Africa have also affected crops, leaving millions of people facing food shortages 

Zimbabwe’s finance minister Mthuli Ncube said in October that water in the Kariba dam was so low “we are dangerously close to a level where we have to cut off power generation”.

Water and power shortages are set to shrink the county’s economy by 6.5 per cent this year, he added.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

‘How have I not seen this before?’: Trump’s ‘House of Wings’ 2004 SNL skit goes viral (VIDEO)

Trump performed throughout the episode but was the centerpiece of the skit…

U.N. warns world not doing nearly enough to avert climate catastrophe

Geneva — Countries have procrastinated for too long and need to begin making…

Saudi Arabia’s first female RACING DRIVER says she still cannot believe it as she prepares to compete in her home country for the first time

Sliding behind the wheel of a sleek electric SUV, Reema Juffali is…

Video of boys beating deer prompts investigation

A viral video of two boys beating an injured deer that had…