Southern Africa: Floods - Jan 2017
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)
Between January and March 2017, Zimbabwe experienced severe flooding across 37 districts of the country, which damaged local infrastructure, livelihoods, transportation routes, and homes. (IFRC, 30 May 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)
Heavy rain has been affecting Angola over the past days, especially the north-western provinces, causing floods. Local media reported, as of 24 March at 7.00 UTC, 11 deaths in the province of Luanda, several missing people, 700 houses destroyed and at least 5 300 houses flooded. (ECHO, 24 Mar 2017)
The chronic drought crisis continues to affect an estimated 1.42 million people, including 756,000 children. Temporary heavy rains have elevated the risk of cholera outbreaks and other water-borne diseases. As of April 2017, the cumulative number of suspected cholera cases stands at 392. Soyo – 218; Cabinda – 173 and Luanda – 1. In total 18 deaths have been reported: Soyo – 10; Cabinda – 8. Since week 12, a constant decrease was noted in Soyo, no new cases have been reported since week 16.
Recent seasonal rainfall helps partially alleviate abnormal dryness in East Africa
Despite rainfall during early March, significant long-term moisture deficits remain throughout central and eastern Madagascar due to very poor rains earlier in the season.
Inconsistent rainfall since late December have led to moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions across many parts of western Angola.
Cyclone Dineo struck the southern African country of Mozambique on 15 February. Its torrential rain and damaging winds destroyed 20,000 homes and affected 130,000 people. UK disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been working with the Red Cross to help communities rebuild.
The South West Indian Ocean brews up a cyclone season every year, and in recent months there have been five tropical storms, with three intensifying into cyclones.
From January until the end of March 2017, 276,238 children, under the age of five years, have been screened for acute malnutrition, of which 19,151 children with severe acute malnutrition were admitted to nutrition treatment programmes.
UNICEF, in partnership with CARE, has built 26 Tarp-a-tents as temporary learning spaces (TLS) benefiting 2,600 children affected by Tropical Cyclone Dineo which made landfall in Inhambane.
Description of the disaster
The Southern and Central Regions of Malawi are experiencing normal to above normal rainfall while the Northern Region is receiving above normal rainfall. One of the districts in the North (Karonga) has been experiencing fairly normal to above normal rainfall amounts since mid-March 2017. Since then, rains have been increasing, which has resulted in extensive flooding and an increased number of displaced populations. MRCS has been closely monitoring the situation and by the 19th of April the situation has deteriorated.
The nine-month humanitarian response where 6.7 million people, in 24 out of the 28 districts in Malawi received humanitarian assistance in line with the 2016 Food Insecurity Response Plan ended on 31 March 2017.
Malawi began registering cholera cases on 11 March 2017, with 45 cases reported and one associated death. Most of the cases registered so far have an epidemiological linkage to an ongoing cholera outbreak in Mozambique.
In response to the floods which hit parts of the country, UNICEF provided teaching and learning materials, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and child protection services to over 3,000 people in the flood-affected districts.
As of 31 March 2017, over 3,300 children aged 0-59 months had been treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 20 drought affected districts.
Namibia has received rain associated with La Niña following four years of drought. However, the heavy rains have caused flooding which has affected 155,924 people, displacing 3,331. The Government of Namibia has responded with shelter and services for the displaced. The caseload of displaced people is expected to increase as river levels continue to rise.
UNICEF has fully rehabilitated 50 of the 69 schools damaged during Tropical Cyclone Dineo. The remaining 19 schools will be operational by June 2017.
UNICEF prepositioned WASH supplies worth over US$54,830 with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to be used by the WASH and Health Sectors as needed for emergency interventions such as floods.
Despite recent rainfall, seasonal rain remains below-average across much of East Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Below-average rainfall accumulations since late February have resulted in significant moisture deficits, which have already negatively impacted agricultural and pastoral activities in many parts of southern South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and northern Tanzania.
- Good rains continued to the end of season in most areas, resulting in positive production expectations in several countries.
- The high seasonal rainfall improved dam and groundwater levels, providing good water availability for irrigation over the coming seasons.
- Preliminary reports suggest the regional impact of the Fall Armyworm was not severe. However, experts advise robust, coordinated control measures for coming seasons.
The April 2017 harvest is expected to be above-average, with Tanzania, parts of Madagascar and northern Mozambique the exceptions. A good agricultural season is critical after two consecutive droughts led to unprecedented levels of food insecurity. Countries in the region continue to battle several hazards with potentially detrimental effects on food security, including an armyworm outbreak.
WFP extends its emergency response to June when cereal harvest is expected to be completed. Harvest is typically between March to July
March is the peak of the hunger season, when food is most scarce. As harvests begin, assistance will be gradually scaled down to reach the remaining and most vulnerable people during this period.
Flooding in parts of the country and the need for fumigation of commodities at the port warehouses results in delayed dispatches to deficit areas.
Household food security expected to improve with prospects of improved harvests region wide
Dryness continues to worsen over the Horn of Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Below-average rainfall since late February have resulted in moderate to locally strong moisture deficits, which have already negatively impacted agricultural and pastoral activities in many parts of southern South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and northern Tanzania.
Food availability and access improve significantly as harvest starts
• Improved vegetation conditions across Southern Africa increase likelihood of aboveaverage harvests
• USAID partners provide assistance to cyclone- and drought-affected populations
• USAID/OFDA provides nearly $1.6 million to UNICEF to help address nutrition and WASH needs in southern Madagascar
On 3 March 2017, Namibia celebrated Africa Day for School Feeding. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in partnership with WFP and sponsors from the private sector commemorated the day at Hillside Primary School in Goreangab Dam, Windhoek. This day was celebrated to raise awareness of school feeding as an important food safety net for protection against hunger and investment in the education of children.
WaPOR: database dissemination portal and APIs
The FAO portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open access of Remotely sensed derived data (WaPOR) monitors and reports on agriculture water productivity over Africa and the Near East.
It provides open access to the water productivity database and its thousands of underlying map layers, it allows for direct data queries, time series analyses, area statistics and data download of key variables associated to water and land productivity assessments.
Zimbabwe has been hit hard with a string of hardships. After months of drought last year, the rainy season residents prayed for ended up causing serious flooding that affected over 300 people. To offer assistance, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in Zimbabwe from Harare headed to Zaka to help. They offered hot meals as well as rice and water purifying tablets for the residents.