Since the beginning of January 2017, heavy seasonal rainfall has been affecting Southern Africa.
In Mozambique, 44 people have died and 79,000 have been affected mainly in the central and southern provinces in January. The Mozambican authorities issued an orange alert for the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Nampula, yet areas of Tete and Sofala provinces have also been affected. The orange alert means that government institutions are planning for an impending disaster. Continued rainfall has been forecast for the first quarter of 2017. Rains are expected to continue, which will increase the number of people affected. The risk of vector- and water-borne diseases is particularly high, as both cholera and malaria are endemic and outbreaks recurring. (ACAPS, 26 Jan 2017)
In Malawi, due to La Niña weather phenomenon since the onset of the rainy season, many districts have received normal to above normal rainfall triggering flash floods in some of the districts. Between 4 and 10 February, heavy rain caused the worst flooding in Salima District in four Traditional Authorities of Ndindi, Pemba, Kambwiri and Maganga. A total of 35,304 people have been affected. 7,216 people have been displaced and are homeless and are dwelling in school blocks. (Act Alliance, 15 Feb 2017)
On 15 February, Tropical Cyclone Dineo made landfall near Inhambane, Southern Mozambique. Shortly after, the storm evolved from severe tropical storm to Category III Tropical Cyclone and was reclassified as Ex-Dineo. The initial report indicated 3 deaths and 4 injured, damaged Infrastructure (electricity, and roads) as a result of the storm in the affected areas. The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) projects that urban flooding in small villages and cities may affect 200,000 people over the next 7 days and the following river basins would be at risk of flooding. (IFRC, 18 Feb 2017)
Despite the fact that cyclone Dineo has been downgraded as tropical depression ex-Dineo as it moved over land, it still caused heavy rainfall over 100 mm/24 hours, and strong winds in several parts of Zimbabwe. The National Disaster Response Agency issued the warning signal for 13 districts in 5 provinces – Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Masvingo, and Manicaland. Communities located along the Limpopo basin and Middle Sabi valley on the Southern Part are at highest risk.The tropical depression resulted in damages to houses and public buildings, infrastructure, including roads, dams and electricity. It is also threatening that as the rains continue in the areas it might cause localized floods and inundations of agricultural land affecting production and livelihoods. (IFRC, 22 Feb 2017)
Between 18 and 23 February 2017, Botswana was hit by the tropical depression, ex-Dineo which caused significant flooding across the country. As a result of inundations, bridges have collapsed, roads have been closed, and health facilities have been flooded. The Government has closed schools in some districts to reduce the risk of children drowning, however in some districts children must still travel long distances to school in sometimes hazardous flood conditions. (IFRC, 11 Mar 2017)
In Namibia some 23,581 learners from schools in Omusati Region are currently idling at home as a precautionary measure taken by 67 schools that have been flooded by the incessant heavy rains that have deluged the north of Namibia in recent weeks. Apart from Omusati Region, schools in Ohangwena are also flooded with rainwater gushing into a number of classrooms. (New Era, 10 Mar 2017)