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'Victoria Falls flowing all year round'

by Staff reporter
13 Dec 2019 at 07:27hrs | Views
VICTORIA Falls is flowing throughout the year despite the devasting effects of climate change that are affecting the country and the tourism sector, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said this at a United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Madrid, Spain, earlier this week. He said international media had misinformed the world that due to climate change the mighty Victoria Falls was drying up.

"The tourism sector has not been spared from the climate change impact as observed by increasing wildlife mortality due to reduced habitat, stockfeed and water availability. However, the Victoria Falls has not been much affected due to its expansive catchment area hence water is still flowing across the falls all year-round contrary to misinformation by some sections of the media," he said.

Minister Ndlovu's sentiments follow the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) statement also dismissing fears over the potential drying up of the Victoria Falls. ATTA, just like the Minister, criticised what it described as "sensational" recent media reports for lacking an appreciation of historical seasonal patterns and changes in the water flow and its levels.  

Minister Ndlovu said climate change was affecting socio-economic development of the country as persistent droughts and floods were disrupting lifestyles.

"This year alone southern Africa was ravaged by devastating Cyclone Idai which left thousands dead, injured or displaced with a trail of infrastructure destruction in parts of my country Zimbabwe, parts of Mozambique and Malawi. This clearly demonstrates our high level of vulnerability," he said.

"As I speak, we are still trying to recover from the disaster and the cost of reconstruction and recovery is estimated to be about US$600 million according to the World Bank and my Government's rapid impact and needs assessment."

He said climate change has affected the country's agricultural sector, impacting negatively on the country's industrial sector which gets 60 percent of its raw materials from agriculture. He said climate change has resulted in the country heavily depending on environmental unfriendly and unsustainable thermal power for electricity as opposed to hydro power stations due to depleting water levels at Kariba Dam.  

The Government, he said, was however committed towards protection of the environment by coming up with policies which will reduce emissions by 33 percent by 2030.

"This target is envisaged to be met through renewable energy utilisation, energy efficiency and climate smart agriculture interventions. This success of this commitment is however dependent on the provision of means of implementation, finance, technology development and the necessary skills transfer," said the minister.

Source - chronicle