Angola + 5 more

Southern Africa: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
CONTEXT

1. Localised flooding is common during the southern Africa rainy season, but this year floods occurred earlier that usual and have been more wide-spread.

2. Pre-positioned relief items have been exhausted in most places and urgent replenishment is needed. It is feared that the situation may deteriorate further as the rainy season is expected to last until April.

3. Based on available information, some 69,800 people have been temporarily displaced since the second half of December. This includes approximately 35,500 in Mozambique, 15,000 in Angola, 13,800 in Madagascar and 5,500 in Malawi. Most of the displaced people have been able to return to their homes, while others found shelter with relatives or in public buildings. A few thousand are currently being housed in camps. The floods have further caused extensive damage to crops and infrastructure.

4. Relief operations are being hampered by access problems and continuous steady rainfall.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

MAP: Southern Africa: Floods - Situation map No. 2

5. A first situation report for the region was issued on 26 January 2007. Since then, the following new information has become available.

6. Angola: The capital Luanda and five surrounding municipalities experienced flooding following torrential rains on 22-23 January. Cacuaco Municipality seems the worst affected. According to the authorities, at least 71 people were killed and some 3,000 families (approximately 15,000 people) are in need of shelter. Roads were submerged while bridges leading to and from Kilamba Kiaxa, Cacuaco, Samba and Ingombota municipalities remained impassable for days, hampering the relief efforts.

7. The affected areas are the same regions where most of the cholera cases occurred since the outbreak in February 2006. As of 31 January 2007, 71,163 cumulative cases of cholera and 2,817 deaths have been registered country wide. The Ministry of Health has issued a warning that the cholera epidemic might spread due to the flooding. Already, in one of the surrounding municipalities (Kilamba Kiaxi), of which an estimated 40% has been under water, cholera cases are reportedly on the rise.

8. Other parts of Angola, including Benguela, Huambo, Moxico and Malange Provinces, have reportedly also been affected by floods, although little information is available on the extent of the damage. Benguela seems to be the worst affected, as six persons were reported dead as a result of the rains.

9. Mozambique: Several parts of Mozambique have been affected by floods since the second half of December. The cities of Beira and Quelimane have been most affected, as well as a number of locations in Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa Provinces. To date, a total of 35,555 people have been temporarily displaced. Many have in the mean time been able to return to their homes, while shelter has been provided for those who have not been able to return. The Ministry of Education reported 43 schools damaged, of which 35 in Sofala and 8 in Nampula Province.

10. The Direccao Nacional de Aguas (DNA), the national water authorities, increased the discharge from the Cahora Bassa dam from 2,500m3/second to 3,500m3/second, as of 1 February 2007. It is feared that this could increase flooding downstream. Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that some 200,000 people in the Zambezi River valley can be evacuated in time, in case the Cahora Bassa dam doors need to be opened further. The disaster management authorities (INGC) and the DNA are working closely together to ensure that enough time is given to execute such a potentially large scale operation. UN Agencies and NGOs are working with the authorities in the development of contingency plans. The government indicated that it has sufficient resources for preparedness and response. However, some agencies have expressed concerns that they would need additional resources to assist in a response to this worst-case scenario.

11. Madagascar: Floods have affected large agricultural areas and will reduce this year's rice production. It is expected that the precarious food security situation in part of the country will be strongly affected. Damage to public infrastructure, such as schools, roads and bridges was also reported. On 31 January, a dike burst in Lake Alaotra, to the north-east of the capital Antananarivo, instantly flooding 5,000 hectares of agricultural land. In the Vakinankaratra region, in the central part of Madagascar, up to 30% of agricultural fields have been submerged. In Nosi Varika, on the eastern coast, preliminary estimates indicate as loss of 70% of crops due to floods. In the capital Antananarivo, some 6,600 people were temporarily displaced.

12. Malawi: No additional flooding has occurred since the first situation report was issued.

13. Zambia: It has been reported that 21 out of the country's 73 districts have been affected by floods. The results of a government led assessment of the situation have still not been made available.

14. Zimbabwe: No further flooding has been reported in Zimbabwe, although rains have been on the increase particularly in the northern parts of the country. Back flow from the Cahora Bassa dam could cause flooding in Centenary and Guruve Districts in Mashonaland Central province, although the Zimbabwe Water Authority has reported that readings along the major rivers in the area are currently low. Despite this, the national Civil Protection Committee has put some district committees on high alert because of the strong rains that are being received in those areas. International Cooperating Partners are part of the national Civil Protection Committee, ensuring a coordinated response when needed.

15. Organizations have responded well to the needs in Mount Darwin district, which was affected by wind storms in December 2006, while areas in Masvingo, which were also affected, have not received sufficient assistance specifically for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

RESPONSE TO DATE

16. Angola: The government, supported by humanitarian agencies, is providing shelter to the affected families. Most of the displaced people have found shelter with neighbors or in community buildings. The local authorities in Cacuaco have prepared a temporary camp for some 200 families. Latrines have been built and tents set up, as well as a water reservoir. Helicopters were used to deliver food to the affected families in marooned areas, assisted by police and army. Plans are being made to relocate these families to higher ground. The government has made US$ 10 million available for the flood response, which is expected to be released soon.

17. UNICEF, WHO, Medicines du Monde, MSF, Oxfam and the Red Cross are supporting the government with cholera prevention and treatment, including the provision of safe water, re-establishment of Cholera Treatment Centers, awareness raising and clean up operations. The Ministry of Health, supported by WHO, has strengthened surveillance of the disease. UNICEF is also distributing mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and vaccinating for measles.

18. Mozambique: INGC has been coordinating the relief activities at national and local level; including the distribution of food, water, first aid kits, purification tablets, mosquito nets and spraying to prevent malaria. They further organized vaccinations, hygiene promotion, latrine construction and rehabilitation of essential infrastructure. Displaced populations have been transferred from schools to new accommodation centers to prepare schools for the opening of the new school year this week. On a daily basis, INGC, together with the Mozambican Red Cross, UNICEF, WFP, International NGOs and government ministries determine availability of relief stocks. Military is providing logistical capacity to the relief efforts.

19. In addition to the national response, UNICEF has provided chlorine tablets, medical supplies and logistical and technical support for water and sanitation issues in Quelimane. As part of its regular programme response, UNICEF supports the Health and Water officials at national and provincial level to pre-position emergency supplies. They are further assisting in the hygiene promotion efforts. WFP, through World Vision, has begun distributing a seven-day food ration to 2,191 people in six accommodation centers in Mutarara District in the south-eastern part of Tete Province. They further pre-positioned 150 tons of food in Mutarara and is assisting INGC in the construction of radio and satellite communication between the Emergency Operations Centre in Maputo and the district administrations in the affected areas. Save the Children UK provided 2,000 blankets, cooking pots, tents and plastic sheeting to affected communities in Zambezia. The organization has further pre-positioned emergency relief kits, which include blankets, water containers and purification tablets in Mopea district along the Zambezi River.

20. A Conselho Técnico de Gestão de Calamidades meeting will take place on 5 February 2007 together with the World Bank, to discuss a new disaster preparedness trust fund they are starting.

21. Madagascar: The Bureau National de Gestion et de Response aux Catastrophes (BN GRC) is coordinating the relief efforts. Tents, tarpaulin, water tanks, jerry cans, food and other relief items have been provided with support from UNICEF, WFP, WHO, UNFPA, Red Cross and NGOs. Rehabilitation efforts have started in the water and sanitation and education sectors. Logistical support was provided by the Malagasy army and civil protection corps.

22. Malawi: Response to the affected families in Karonga, Chikwawaand Nsanje is ongoing. The government has made US$ 150,000 available for the relief operations. Development partners contributed with in-country resources. Relief items, such as food, water, shelter, medical items, purification tablets and mosquito nets have been donated to the affected families. OCHA has made US$ 50,000 available from its emergency cash grants to assist in the purchase and distribution of some 700 emergency survival kits.

23. Zambia: The government's Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has started assisting the affected families with food, water, chlorine and mosquito nets. The Zambian Red Cross has provided tents, jerry cans and disinfectants to the affected families.

OUTSTANDING NEEDS

24. Angola: UTCAH, the government's humanitarian coordinating body, reported that additional support is still needed in the areas of shelter, food, health, watsan and protection of orphans and vulnerable children. While UTCAH stated that it was not appealing for international assistance, it did invite the international community to respond to its response plan. Five committees were formed to coordinate the response: health; watsan; shelter; child protection; and technical assistance.

25. With regards to the cholera situation, UNICEF reported that contributions from the EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the United States and Exxon Mobil secured US$ 3,075,253 in 2006 for cholera preparedness activities. Pre-positioned items purchased with these contributions have been used in the current response. A further US$ 1,757,888 is needed in light of the increased needs.

26. Mozambique: INGC has so far been able to respond to the floods with its own resources. Reportedly only 10% of the allocated US$ 3 million national budget for emergencies has so far been used. In addition, international development partners already present in the country have used pre-positioned stocks or diverted resources from other programmes to assist. Some agencies have reported that their stocks are now running low and need to be replenished. WFP also reported that it has developed a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario, in which WFP food and logistical support might be needed to support the evacuation of 200,000 people.

27. Madagascar: In country resources from the Malagasy government and its UN and NGO partners have been used to respond to the needs. However, after more than 10 days of extensive relief operations in a number of locations, the limits of in-country capacity are being reached. Stocks and regular budgets, which have been diverted to address the emergency situation, need to be replenished and additional funds are needed to support the ongoing operations.

28. In addition, seeds are needed for re-planting (rice, shorgo and sweet potato). Exact needs in this area are currently being calculated. Food security has worsened as a result of the floods. In the immediate term, eight additional communes have been classified as food insecure (difficulté alimentaire, according to the official national food security monitoring and classification system). WFP indicated that it will need additional resources to include this new caseload in their programmes.

29. Malawi: UNICEF s seeking an additional US4 45,000 to support the purchase and distribution of an additional 600 survival kits. Part of these will be used in the response, while the rest will be used to replenish stocks in the anticipation of additional flooding. WFP reported that, in accordance with its cluster lead responsibilities, it had developed a contingency plan in case accessibility becomes a problem and boats or helicopters are needed to transport relief items.

Contact Details:

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

OCHA Regional Office for Southern Africa (South Africa): Mr. Jean-Luc Tonglet, Tel: + 27-11-517-1595
Desk Officer (New York): Ms. Aida Mengistu, Tel: + 1-917-367-9960

Press contact:
(Geneva) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(New York) Ms. Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Tel: +1-917-367-5126

This situation report, together with additional information on the current crisis is also available on http://www.reliefweb.int. As your tool for timely information sharing, please encourage submissions of documents and maps by email to submit@reliefweb.int.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.