Climate Community Development

Report on Hwange Flash Floods


Climate Correspondent

Hwange received 139mm of rain in 3 hours.  Usually the town receives 50 mm or less per year.  This resulted in the drainage system being overwhelmed by flash floods resulting in damaged homes and properties including a stockpile of coal at Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest thermal power facility.  At least 70 people were affected by the floods with more than 35 in dire situation having been evacuated to temporary shelter set at Hwange Colliery Company guest house.
The rains damaged household property in the townships of Cinderella, Lwendulu, as well as parts of Empumalanga and Ingagula.  A number of cars were also submerged and damaged while a major retail shop in the mining town, Pick n Pay had to be temporarily closed after water flooded and submerged some of the groceries and goods in the shop.
Roads were closed between Cinderella Township and the Truck Stop for about 5 to 6 hours from the hours of 5am to 11 am, resulting in a Traffic jam for traffic travelling on the main highway.  However by the afternoon all traffic was free to move as the water had subsided.
Power Supply Update – Emergency Alert
The heavy rains received in Hwange led to flooding and affected, but not limited to, the following: –
a)    Ashe Pump house – submerged
b)    Cooling Water Pumps – Submerged
c)    Coal: The coal has become too damp and necessitated diesel support to the generators. This is not sustainable and the diesel would eventually run out. Subsequently three generators have been shut down and ONLY Generator No. 5 is still on line albeit on one mill loading and on diesel support.
G2 out at 15h16
G4 out at16h10
G1 out at 17h58
Next Steps: –
a)    Shut down remaining generator 5 at Hwange.
b)    Restart bunkering for generators 1, 2 and 5. Generator 4 was nursing a condenser tube leak and would not be coming back.
c)    Restart firing the generators at Hwange.
Kariba generation will be increased beyond stipulated target to minimise impact of partial unavailability of Hwange generation on the overall supply position.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende