Angola + 2 more

Southern Africa: Floods report 29 Mar 2000

JOHANNESBURG, 29 March (IRIN) - Flood damage to Mozambique's agriculture, roads and manufacturing industry will cost the country about US $1 billion in relief and reconstruction costs, the World Bank said in a report jointly released this week with the Mozambican government.
It said that preliminary indirect costs were estimated at US $214 million, while relief costs would amount to US $64.8 million. The report added that damage assessments following the disaster amounted to US $700 million.

Meanwhile, as rains continued in southern Africa, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) estimated that the number of deaths in the region had now reached 1,000 since February and early March when cyclones Eline and Gloria swept through Madagascar and Mozambique, sending heavy rains to other neighbouring countries.

In Madagascar, WFP on Tuesday appealed for US $5 million to help communities recover from severe crop losses and rebuild damaged roads and bridges. In Botswana, USAID said many of the main roads that were damaged in the flooding had been repaired or were being repaired and that traffic had started moving again.

In London, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) told IRIN on Wednesday that in the week of 13 March it had agreed to provide some US $960,000 to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). DFID said the funds had been allocated as a regional grant both for Mozambique and Madagascar, as well as other countries in the region which had suffered damage to infrastructure, displacements and loss of life.

The funds were allocated for continued assessment and coordination services "with a particular emphasis on maintaining and expanding their presence outside the capital city areas".


WFP said the US $5 million appeal would help to feed 129,000 people for the next four months in areas where floods damaged or destroyed crops. It would also fund airlifts to regions cut off by damaged roads and subsidise food payments to people who will work to repair damaged infrastructure.

About 200 people in Madagascar died in flood-related mudslides or flash floods, and more than 40,000 lost their homes or all of their crops. The eastern, northeastern and western areas of the Indian Ocean island were the hardest hit by the two cyclones.

Food and agriculture

Many people in isolated rural areas are still living without food or shelter, it said.

Rice farms and granaries, fruit trees and cash crops were also destroyed by the floods, leaving families with only a few days of food stocks. In northeastern Madagascar, in one of the largest rice producing districts, farmers lost almost 80 per cent of their production.

"In many regions, the next rice harvest is only due in six months, making tens of thousands of people largely dependent on food aid until they can feed themselves," said Haladou Salha, WFP Country Director in Madagascar. "WFP will continue to sustain the most needy with free food rations, while less vulnerable people will participate in food-for-work projects to help rebuild damaged infrastructures".

According to government estimates, half a million people have been negatively affected by the floods and violent winds which brought havoc to the country's already inadequate infrastructure. Roads and bridges were washed away, cutting off at least 40 towns and rural communities.


Using mainly cargo planes and helicopters, so far WFP has delivered 300 mt of food aid - enough to feed 30,000 for two weeks - to the most affected areas in the northeast and west of Madagascar.

The appeal includes US $1.9 million to support the continuation of helicopter and airlift operations which remain crucial to bringing food to many towns and rural communities still isolated because of floodwaters.


The South African Weather Bureau forecast that Mozambique would get rainfalls of 50 to 100 percent above normal levels over the next month.


WFP said it was airlifting 10 to 12 mt per day into isolated areas along the northern bank of Limpopo River. It was also pre-positioning two-week food stocks in Machaze and Save.

Save the Children Fund (SCF) said it had noticed malnutrition among children aged six months to six years in Chibuto, Chicambane and Manjacaze. It planned to start a blanket supplementary feeding programme for the children. SCF also said there were about 150 malnourished children in Macia hospital in need of immediate assistance.


USAID said immediate needs for seeds and tools are being met, adding that progress is being made on procuring and delivery of these inputs and for rapid distribution to beneficiaries for immediate planting as floodwaters recede.

It said seeds procured in Zimbabwe have begun arriving in the capital, Maputo for distribution. Transport for 215 mt is being provided primarily by US military aircraft through the UN's Joint Logistics Operations Centre (JLOC), while a further 200 mt is being moved by ship from Beira to Maputo.

USAID said the Red Cross and CONCERN would distribute 5,000 agricultural kits in Buzi and Machanga.


According to USAID, the municipality of Maputo city planned to build a new centre complete with small houses, roads, schools and other infrastructure for 1,700 displaced families in Magoanine on the outskirts of the capital.


The government's disaster management authority, the Instituto Nacional Gestao da Calamidades (INGC) said an estimated 60 percent of outpatients and 40 percent of hospital admissions were due to malaria. It said the majority of cases involved children under five years of age, with complications of severe anaemia and cerebral malaria.

Malaria, which is endemic in Mozambique, claimed 1,464 lives in the country last year out of more than 2.2 million reported cases.

The government said that cholera reports have been more numerous from the port town of Beira than from outlying flood-affected areas in the central Sofala province.

Water and sanitation

Medecins du Monde (MDM) reported that many water wells in an isolated settlement called Beiapeia were yet to be chlorinated and cases of bloody diarrhoea had been recorded.

USAID said in Maputo province, the water supply system was no longer functioning in Moamba and Boane towns after an intake pump was destroyed in the floods. The system in Moamba used to supply about 16,000 people.

It added that the only sources of drinking water for the inhabitants of the two towns involve a two to three km walk to the Inkomati river or rainwater. It said negotiations were underway with a dam operator upstream to temporarily reduce water flows so that pipelines can be repaired.

An Austrian army mobile water treatment unit, based in Chibuto airport, is processing water at the rate of 50,000 litres per day. The Austrian military has distributed water to people camped along the road between XaiXai and Chibuto but is planning to pull out within a month.


According to Mozambique's government, 2,204 schools were affected by the floods. It said out of this total, 499 primary schools, comprising of 1,300 classrooms were badly damaged. It added that 721 of the flood-affected schools can be rehabilitated, but that 579 will need to be replaced.

The government also said that 207,980 pupils, making up about 10 percent of the total primary pupils in the country, have been affected by the damage. It said total damage to the education sector is estimated at US $20.8 million.

The education ministry said although the reconstruction needs had to be addressed immediately, the immediate priority was to restart classes as soon as possible.


INGC said air transportation was being reduced this week and would now focus on serving inaccessible areas. Passengers travelling between Maputo and the second city of Beira would now have to use commercial services, it said.

USAID added that a British naval ship ceased helicopter activities off the Sofala coast at the weekend, while German helicopters are scheduled to depart from the country next week. The two Malawian helicopters are said to be preparing to depart on Thursday.


DFID said it had provided US $3.2 million for the repair and rehabilitation of the government's administrative facilities. A further US $3.2 million had been allocated by DFID towards emergency infrastructure repairs.

UNICEF and WFP had each been allocated US $3.2 million by DFID, while NGOs also received up to US $3.2 million for various projects. DFID said it had also provided US $640,000 to UNDP in Mozambique so that it could help the government complete damage assessments, prioritise competing requirements and coordinate international assistance during the transition from relief to rehabilitation, as well as prepare for a donors conference next month.


Torrential rains have left more than 250 people homeless in the Caxito district, about 60 km north of the Angolan capital Luanda, humanitarian sources told IRIN on Wednesday.

The sources said it had been raining heavily in Caxito, capital of Bengo province, since Sunday. The official Angop news agency cited "extensive damage" in Caxito, where flood waters had destroyed 43 mud homes. It also said roads from Caxito to the nearby Dande and Lama markets have been cut off.

"Heavy flooding is normal when the Bengo river bursts its banks, causing problems for residents and farmers," the news agency said.


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