Thursday, 24 January 2013

Floods in Mozambique cut power to SA

Maputo: Floods in Mozambique have reduced electricity supplies to South Africa.

The flooding on the Limpopo River, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, has damaged the electricity transmission lines from the Cahora Bassa dam to South Africa.

This has cut the power exported by Cahora Bassa to Eskom by 35 percent.

Two transmission lines run for about 900km from Cahora Bassa to the South African border, and one of them has been knocked out, said the dam’s operating company, Hidroel├ęctrica de Cahora Bassa.

Torrential rains in the Pafuri region and the subsequent rise in the level of the Limpopo River led to the interruption of power supplies from transmission line 2 on Monday.

The force of the Limpopo flood knocked down one pylon on the line, and it dragged four others after it.

All power supplies from Cahora Bassa to Eskom are now being transmitted along line 1 or along alternative routes.

But these lines cannot carry the full 1 300 megawatts that Eskom normally receives, and the operating company has been forced to cut its exports to South Africa by 35 percent.

Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe yesterday confirmed the reduction in power, but said it should not cause power cuts.

Several wildlife resorts were devastated by the heavy rains and floods that battered Limpopo province in the past week, tourism officials said yesterday.

Limpopo Tourism Agency spokesman Mike Tauatsoala said some of the agency’s resorts were left inaccessible after a bridge leading to the area was washed away.

“The most affected include Mphephu Resort, Makuya (Singo) Park, Eclipse Tented Camp and Nwanedi Resort,” he said.

At the Kruger National Park, gravel roads and some camps were closed at the weekend due to the heavy rains.

SANParks spokesman Reynold Thakuli said yesterday that the Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabie, Malelane, Mopani via Lethaba, Olifants, Orpen, Skukuza, Pretoriuskop and Thundamaria camps were now accessible.

“The park is not accessible from the R572 because of the bridge that has collapsed,” he said.

Meanwhile, plans are under way to construct low-cost houses for people who lost their dwellings in the Limpopo flooding, officials said yesterday.

Two service providers had been appointed to start identifying beneficiaries and building the houses, Limpopo Co-operative Governance Department spokeswoman Dieketseng Diale said.

Many houses, schools, bridges and roads were damaged or washed away during eight days of rain in the province.

The death toll stood at 10 yesterday afternoon. Four others were still missing.

In Makhado, officials had begun mopping-up operations.

Municipal spokesman Peter Muthambi said mayor David Mutavhatsindi had assigned a contractor to start rebuilding the destroyed bridges and roads. A total of R12 million had been set aside for the project.

- The Star

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