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October 22, 2014 | Last Updated 11:50 PM
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Mar 9 2012 4:37PM
 
Cyclone broke wetland drought
RELIEF: iSimangaliso Wetland Park has benefitted from the rains bought by cyclone Irina. Picture: Supplied
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Tropical cyclone Irina didn’t bring just destruction – the storm has been credited with breaking a decade-long drought in northern KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Dry pans on the eastern and western shores of the World Heritage site have recharged and lake levels have risen significantly. This is especially good news as the dry winter season approaches.

The uMfolozi River is flowing bank to bank and the two-kilometre-long sand bar at the uMfolozi river mouth has been overtopping due to the high swell.

iSimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis told SA Tourism Update: “The uMfolozi mouth has continued to ‘eat’ its way north towards the estuary, taking with it the thousands of tons of unwanted dredger spoil and marine sediments that have been deposited on the beach, creating the artificial berm (raised bank) that has deflected the uMfolozi River away from the estuary over the past decade. A management strategy to allow the uMfolozi and Lake St Lucia estuary to rejoin, in line with new scientific work, is rapidly being brought closer by the extreme weather.”

No significant damage had been reported to date and all visitor camps were open, said Zaloumis. – 701068

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