Victoria Falls, who is one of the world’s most iconic waterfalls, has almost completely dried up and the once deafening stream of foamy wash which roared through the gorge has nearly vanished.
For decades, Victoria Falls in southern Africa has attracted millions of vacationers to Zimbabwe and Zambia for its stunning views. But the biggest drought of the century has almost drained the waterfall, causing fears that climate change could destroy one of the region’s largest tourist attractions.
Although the waterfall tends to slow down during the hot seasons, residents said this year has brought unprecedented water downs.
“It has never dried up so much in previous years,” said Dominic Nyambe, a handicraft salesman for tourists. “For the first time, we see something like this. It affects us because customers can see on the internet that the waterfall is almost dry … We don’t have as many tourists.”
While world leaders gathered in Madrid for the COP25 Climate Change Conference to discuss ways to stop catastrophic warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, South Africa is already suffering its worst – water taps are drying up and some 45 million people need help with food.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are experiencing power outages because electricity there is heavily dependent on hydropower from the Caribbean dam, which is located on the Zambezi River above the waterfalls.
The Zambezi River Authority data show that the flow of water is the lowest since 1995 and below the long-term average. Zambian President Edgar Lungu has called it “a vivid reminder of how climate change is affecting our environment.”