Early floods jeopardize Southern Africa
"Governments and international humanitarian organizations are scaling up their efforts to ensure a swift response and save lives," said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. "But many of those affected are still struggling to recover from last year's floods and cyclones. For this reason and in view of the long rainy season ahead, humanitarian needs in the region are likely to increase over the coming weeks. We must continue to support Governments responding to the increasing impact of these natural disasters."
Zimbabwean civil protection officials and their UN, Red Cross and NGO partners responded in late December to floods affecting about 3,000 people in the northern parts of the country as well as more than 5,000 people along the country's south-eastern border with Mozambique, many of whom have returned home. While the situation is currently stable, the government is maintaining a close watch on flood prone areas.
In Zambia, the government estimates that several hundred people may have been affected by floods in the southern districts. They are presently assessing the level of damage. The government has also launched a multimillion dollar contingency plan to deal with the effects of floods. Already, 34 of 72 districts have been put on red alert for floods.
"We are greatly concerned at the emergency responses this early in the rainy season," said Kelly David, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Southern Africa. "If this continues, we can expect a substantial impact."
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