Botswana + 1 more

Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland: Floods Revised Appeal No. 04/2000

Originally published
This is a revision of the Emergency Appeal launched on 11 February 2000 which sought CHF 2,800,000. This amount has been revised to CHF 4,667,312. Pledges received to date total CHF 3,400,000, with CHF 1,267,312 still outstanding. This revised appeal responds to the evolving flood emergency situation in the southern Africa region, and the incorporation of Swaziland and, shortly, Zimbabwe into this appeal for support.


The International Federation launched an appeal on February 11, 2000 for Mozambique and Botswana to respond to severe flooding provoked by weeks of rain throughout the southern Africa region. The appeal emphasised that flooding was widespread, and that while Zimbabwe and Swaziland were also expected to be affected, assessing the situation and needs in both of these countries at the time was impossible due to a lack of access to the affected areas.

Since the launch of the appeal, the situation has evolved and worsened throughout the region, and reports now clearly indicate the considerable additional assistance needs. The Federation has issued 2 Situation Reports (the first a special focus on Botswana) as well as an Information Bulletin on the flooding in Swaziland. Based on the emerging needs and discussions with the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross (BSRC) Society, the Federation is revising appeal number 04/2000 to include Swaziland, and will follow shortly with a further revision reflecting developments and the resulting needs in Zimbabwe and other countries in the region affected by the floods.

The Disaster

Swaziland has been severely affected by the torrential rains currently provoking flooding in many areas of the southern African region. The Hhohho Region in the north of the country is considered to be the most affected area. Many of the gravel roads in the mountainous area are impassable, and rockslides are threatening to cause damage to nearby homes and infrastructure. Many houses have already been destroyed by the rains, which have also washed away the top soil of the fields and devastated the harvest and food storage facilities in many areas.

Since December, recordings of rainfall from all of the 4 regions of the country have exceeded the average. In particular, during the month of January the Highveld (where Southern and Northern Hhohho are situated) and Lubombo (in the lowlands), exceeded by far the average rainfall, with the Highveld recording 300 mm of rain against the usual of 196 mm, and Lubombo receiving 227 mm rain against the average of 138 mm. With the existing flooding, the ongoing torrential rains, and the forecasts for yet another cyclone, the situation is expected to continue to worsen.

Estimates from the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross (BSRC) indicate that a total number of 272,000 persons are affected in the country. Throughout the country, the water table has risen and will not absorb the excess water, thereby inundating fields and houses. The destruction of houses, and the health risks due to the pollution of water sources, pose problems throughout the entire country. In addition, latest reports from the BSRC indicate that a mass population movement is taking place into Swaziland near the border with Mozambique. This is a result of Mozambican citizens fleeing Cyclone Eline, and seeking shelter with local communities in Swaziland, causing a further strain on local resources.

According to an assessment conducted by the BSRC in the Hhohho Region, the entire population of 92,000 people are affected by the rains. 6,900 houses are damaged, and 1,115 houses have been reported completely destroyed. The health situation has already started to deteriorate, with the prevalance of malaria increasing due to stagnant water which promotes mosquito breeding. With 90% of the population taking drinking water from polluted water sources such as rivers and unprotected springs, there is a great risk of cholera and diarrhoea increasing dramatically.

The BSRC is continuing to carry out a needs assessment, and preparing staff and volunteers to procure and deliver relief items as well as conduct health education activities for the population in the affected areas. During a planned assessment around the southern Africa region, the Federation's Regional Disaster Preparedness Delegate will spend a signficant amount of time in Swaziland assisting in planning the relief and assistance operation. Situation reports will be issued shortly to provide an update of the situation, the results of the needs assessments currently being carried out, and the related plans of action.

The Response so far

Government Action

The Government Disaster Task Force is in charge of planning and coordinating the disaster operation. While coordination meetings have been held, a concrete strategy has been slow in developing. The Chairman of the Task Force will present the findings of the current assessments to the Cabinet on Monday. The Government, however, has indicated that trucks and store rooms will be made immediately available for incoming relief items.

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

A total of CHF 250,000 has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to initiate relief operations in the region.

The BSRC is a member of the Disaster Task Force and is involved at all levels in responding to the disaster.

The BSRC has distributed tents and food parcels (primarily in the Hhohho Region) from the existing emergency contingency stocks.

On 14 and 15 February, volunteers and staff from the BRCS conducted a needs assessment in the Hhohho Northern Region areas of Vusweni, Ntfonjeni, Sidwashini, Timphisini, Ndlalambi, Mvembili, Lomshiyo, Ebuhleni, Nyakatfo, Mhlangatane. A needs assessment in Lubombo Region was carried out on 18 and 19 February, with conclusions largely supporting those of the first assessment.

Volunteers are being mobilised around all 5 Red Cross Divisions of the country and a national disaster response team is being formed. The Divisional staff are also liaising with other resource people in the area. The BSRC has outlined a plan of action involving the training of volunteers to enable them to assess and register the most affected households and to distribute relief items. Volunteers from the BSRC are helping in reconstructing homesteads, although this work is often hampered by the rains.

The BRCS has taken a leading role in informing the public by appearing daily on television or radio. The Federation is in daily contact with the BSRC obtaining more information on the situation and discussing the evolving needs and developments of the operation.

The Federation is immediately sending an information and reporting team to the region to facilitate communications and to publicise Red Cross efforts in favor of the flood victims, as well as to increase awareness of the appeal needs within the donor community.

Other Agencies' Action

Save the Children and World Vision are both involved in delivering assistance, and have launched appeals for support.


The Disaster Task Force seeks to coordinate the operation though daily meetings. Through the already established network from previous drought relief work (the Consortium for Drought), the BSRC works closely together with Save the Children and World Vision. To avoid overlapping, priority areas have been identified for each organisation.

The Intended Operation

Assessment of Needs

Based on the assessment of Hhohho where 4,500 households were visited, all 92,000 people in the region are affected. Of this population, 36,800 are adults, with 55,200 people under 21 years of age. Although the degree of damage to each household varies, with as many as 1,115 houses completely destroyed and 6,900 damaged, and the destruction of food stores and fields around this area, large groups of people are in urgent need of immediate assistance. The most affected people in Hhohho urgently require shelter, food, and health and water facilities.

Similar problems exist in other areas of the country, though on a more limited scale, and assistance is urgently needed to assist vulnerable people in these areas as well. The Federation, however, will support the BRCS action in the priority areas of Hhohho and Shiselweni Regions.

The following assistance is required (please see attached budget for further details):

- 100 tents (5m x 5m);
- 400 sacks of maize (90 kg);
- 400 sacks of beans (90 kg);
- 2000 blankets;
- 500 rolls of plastic sheeting (10 m x 10 m);
- Used clothes;
- Chlorine tablets.

While storage rooms and transport needs will be provided by the government, provision for these facilities and services on a short term basis are budgeted in the appeal. Most of the relief materials are expected to be obtained locally, although tents will be purchased from South Africa.

Immediate Needs

In order to ensure an effective use of the volunteers during the crucial first phase of the operation, one day workshops on assessment and distribution will be held for 20 people from each of the 5 Divisions. The training will also enable the volunteers to carry out the identification of target groups i.e. those in most need of assistance.

Anticipated Later Needs

Given that a situation similar to the ones observed in Hhohho and Lubombo Regions is likely to exist in other parts of the country, assistance for these areas will be needed. Other than that, food provisions in order to compensate for the poor or lost harvest, rehabilitation, particularly in construction of housing, as well as continuation of health education campaigns is anticipated. There will be a need for a second round of training of volunteers in order for them to carry out door-to-door health education (prevention and early detection of malaria, hygiene and nutrition and first aid for diarrhoeal diseases).

Red Cross Objectives

  • to procure and distribute basic relief items to the most vulnerable groups of people affected by the disaster;
  • to undertake a health awareness campaign;
  • ongoing assessments and monitoring;
  • to improve the capacity of the BSRC (on a branch, division and Headquarter level) to respond to further disasters.
National Society/Federation Plan of Action

Emergency Phase: February - March 2000

Distribution of relief and assistance items. Dissemination of health awareness information.

Phase Two: April - June 20000

Phase 2 will focus on the completion of the emergency assistance distributions, further assessments and monitoring of the health conditions, and capacity building for disaster preparedness.

Capacity of the National Society

The BSRC has indicated it has supplies to assist only 5% of the total number of people affected but, with outside material assistance, it has the capacity to support the entire operation with its human resources. The National Society has full-time staff (either Field-Coordinators or Field Officers) in the 5 Divisions in the country. The Disaster Preparedness Officer is coordinating all divisions, and ensuring that staff from other departments and programmes are allocated to the areas most in need. Volunteers from the Divisions are being mobilised, but need training. A training of 20 volunteers had already been planned to start this coming Monday, focusing on forming a regional disaster response team. Given the current situation, the trainees will be used in the flood assistance operation, and will also be responsible for coordinating future disaster response activities in the future. The radio communication equipment of the BSRC is not functioning. Telephone and fax connections are available, however, up to the Division level, and the Headquarters has email and internet capacity.

Budget summary

See Annex 1 for details.

Didier Cherpitel
Secretary General

Margareta Wahlström
Under Secretary General
Disaster Response and Operations Coordination