Zimbabwe: worst drought in a century shrinks Victoria Falls to a trickle

Elias Hubbard
December 9, 2019

"So, this is one of I would say, it's the longest dry season we've ever had here at the Victoria Falls".

For decades, stunning views from the Victoria Falls on the edge of southern Africa's Zambezi river have drawn millions of holidaymakers to Zimbabwe and Zambia. - A series of heat waves has dried most of the vegetation surrounding the UNESCO world heritage site measuring 108 metres high and nearly 2km wide in a severe drought.

Climate changehas been blamed for the dramatic change in landscape, with Zambia's President making a plea to Western states to clean up their act on environmental protection.

"Seems to be not much (water), a few rocky stones with a little water between it", he said.

Vibrant greenery has been ushered away and replaced by brown, ashen grasslands.

However, the local tourist board does not see climate change as the cause for the low water levels in the Zambezi or Victoria Falls.

Scientists are cautious about categorically blaming climate change, as there is always seasonal variation in levels. Lungu continued: "It's [climate change] a serious problem, a genuine one". "Probably they're living in a different world".

"If they become more frequent, then you can start saying: OK, this may be climate change."
"And it is impacting on everyone", said Lungu.

"In previous years, when it gets dry, it's not to this extent".

It is not unusual for the falls to run low on water during the annual dry season between May and November, but drought has now reduced water flow there to its lowest in 25 years.

Standing at 355 feet high, the impressive landmark draws thousands of tourists each year and generates much-needed business to the area.

With taps running dry, some 45 million people are in need of food aid amid widespread crop failures.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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