New images of Lake Kariba from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments onboard two satellites, has shown severe recession on the reservoir’s shoreline as its water levels drop drastically due to months-long intense drought plaguing the southern African region.
The reservoir, measured at 38 per cent in 2017 and 55 per cent this time last year, reached its lowest water level in 20 years earlier this month at just under 10 per cent full. However, imageries show it has dropped slightly lower to 9.38 per cent, according to the Zambezi River Authority.
The lake is the world’s largest manmade reservoir with its dam generating half of the electricity used in Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, Zambia may suspend its hydropower production from the dam as the water level continues to drop, its state-owned electricity utility company said.
Furthermore, the months-long drought has led to food shortages in the region, with more than 11 million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity as the region has received rainfall in just one of the past five growing seasons.
Commenting on the development, Michael Charles, head of the IFRC’s Southern Africa cluster, in a news release by the organisation described this year’s drought as unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale never seen before.
“We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season”.
International organisations such as the Red Cross are currently working to alleviate the food crisis in the region.