Botswana + 4 more

Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe: Floods Appeal no. 04/2000 (rev. 2) Situation Report No. 8

Situation Report
Originally published


Period covered: 24 - 30 March
Appeal 04/2000 was originally launched on 11 February 2000 for CHF 2,800,000. Responding to the evolving nature of the disaster, Revision No. 1 was issued on 25 February, 2000 with a particular focus on Swaziland, and reflecting a revised total budget of CHF 4,667,312. With the situation in the region continuing to worsen, revision no. 2 of Appeal 04/2000 including Zimbabwe was issued on 2 March, 2000, reflecting a total revised budget of CHF 11,346,464.

As the delivery and distribution of relief supplies continues in all four affected countries, the Federation is completing rehabilitation assessments which will form the basis of the forthcoming appeal to be launched shortly.

The context

The two cyclones which hit southeastern Africa produced heavy rains and strong winds throughout the region, causing overflowing rivers and pressure on dams, and resulting in widespread flooding in large areas of Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Latest estimates are that over 1,000 people have died, with over two million people affected throughout the region. Main road and rail lines were severed, with widespread damage to other infrastructure. Cultivated land was destroyed, causing fears that severe food shortages will occur in the longer term. In each of the affected countries, the Federation is coordinating the relief response with the respective National Societies, as well as with UN agencies and NGOs.

The first priority in the affected countries focused on rescuing marooned people, then providing basic relief assistance. To respond to the disaster and to support the Mozambican Red Cross Society (MRCS or CVM) and the Botswana Red Cross (BRC), the Federation launched an appeal on February 11, and later extended it to Swaziland and Zimbabwe following a dramatic expansion of the affected area.

Flooding in Malawi started between 12 and 13 March in the southern region of the country, notably in the districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa, with the swelling of the Lalanje, Thangadzi, and Shire rivers. The initial floods have been followed by new torrential rains in the central and northern parts of the country, and intermittent rainfall continues to affect several districts in the country. Many rivers burst their banks washing away houses and fields, causing damage to infrastructure and displacing people from their homes.

Latest events


The death toll from the floods has risen to 652 (as of 27 March), and is expected to increase as the rivers recede and more bodies are found. The Mozambique Government has launched an additional appeal for US$ 102 million. Funds are being sought for 650,000 internally displaced people (463,000 of whom live in 121 accommodation centres) in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Sofala, Inhambane, Manica and Tete for 6 months.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 120,000 families urgently require assistance in the south and centre of Mozambique. Some 6,000 small scale fishermen have lost most of their boats and equipment. Approximately 140,000 hectares of maize and rice crops are estimated to have been destroyed, and US$ 13 million will be required to meet these needs over a 6-month period. The government's disaster management authority, the Instituto Nacional Gestao da Calamidades (INGC) reported 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.

The countries main highway has been open for traffic between the provinces of Sofala and Inhambane since Sunday, 26 March, promising better access to the flood affected areas south (Govuro) and north (Machanga) of the Save river. The first trucks with supplies from Beira to Xai Xai were dispatched on 29 March. The Government intends to re-establish connection between Chissano and Chibuto, over the Limpopo river, within the next two weeks. At the moment approximately 1,000 people cross the Limpopo by boat daily. With the isolation of the northern Gaza province, the cost of living has increased significantly. In the town of Xai Xai, the reallocation of plots of land located on higher ground to some of the dislocated population has commenced. However, many people who have lost everything have only been given a small plot and still need basic services and construction materials. The governor has stated that provincial and municipal administrations will be moved to higher zones as well. Water levels recently rose in Xai Xai after the valley further eastwards had been flooded, forcing returnees to Chokwe to flee once again. The displaced population in Chaquelane camp also swelled once again, with more than 80,000 dislocated people primarily originating from Lionde, Chokwe, Conhane, Massavasse and Nwaxicoloane. On 28 March, 11 flood victims sheltered in the camp died from malaria, raising the number of deaths in the Chaquelane camp hospital since the beginning of the month to 35.

In Inhambane, 24,775 affected people are in need of assistance, especially drinking water, fuel, and shelter. In Maputo, 1,400 families will be unable to return to their original homes. The health situation continues to be of serious concern in all affected areas. The occurrence of disease is increasing in Maputo. Last week, 592 cases of diarrhoea were registered, with 8 deaths recorded. A special ward has been opened at the general hospital in Machava after more than 700 people had been admitted to cholera wards in Maputo and Matola. An outbreak of measles has also occurred.

In Sofala, 1,408 cases of acute diarrhoea have been recorded, with 6 deaths. Respiratory infections, conjunctivitis, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition are also common, ailments exacerbated by the congested accommodation centre conditions. Last week 310 cases of cholera were reported in Maputo (including 7 deaths) and 189 in Sofala Province, 172 of which were in Beira where cholera is endemic. Despite the continued risk of an outbreak of cholera, it is important to note that figures for Sofala Province are still lower than at the same time last year. On the other hand, in Inhambane Province 5,729 cases of diarrhoea have been registered, in contrast to 429 in 1999. A cholera alert has been issued, and the Ministry of Health has repeatedly recommended rapid disbanding of the accommodation camps.

WFP intends to provide people with a 1 month supply of food, seeds and tools when they leave the camps. However, the INGC points out that a return to urban areas such as Xai Xai and Chokwe will have to wait until rivers have returned to normal, corpses and dead animals have been removed, and basic services (water and electricity) are re-established. Malaria immunisation campaigns were initiated last week in centres and isolated areas throughout the country. Children were vaccinated against measles, pregnant women against tetanus, as well as 300,000 persons for meningitis.


Periodic rains are still affecting the situation in, and the access to, certain areas. Some areas of Chimanimani and Mutare in Manicaland are still inaccessible, and the Civil Protection Unit has discovered previously unidentified flood affected areas and victims in the provinces of Masvingo and Matebeleland South (Gotu). In the Chiredzi district of Masvingo Province, there is still little access to the Malipati area. In the Matobo district of Mataebeleland South Province an area still cut off due to impassable roads, one hundred families are in desperate need of food relief.

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs has launched an additional appeal for Zimbabwe focusing on emergency assistance (food, household items, water/sanitation) and short-term rehabilitation and repair of infrastructure.

The National Association of Non-governmental Organisation (NANGO) is responsible for co-ordinating NGO disaster activities and bridging UN and government involvement.

Although the fuel crisis in the country remains a significant impediment, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has now succeeded in locating fuel reserves in order to support the floods operation. Some 400 litres of diesel have been procured from the Mobil Oil Company, with a further committment to allocate up to 5,000 litres of fuel on a weekly basis. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also indicated allocations of fuel through the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), should further needs arise.


On 23 and 24 March, floods ravaged the Karonga District, bordering Tanzania. Over 80 villages were affected by the swelling of the Kasowa, Mphere, Chungu and Lufira rivers that flow into Lake Malawi. More than 8,000 households were left homeless. During the night of 24 and 25 March, downpours led to the bursting of the rivers of Kaombe, Likowa, Lifuliza, Liutsi, Nazikoko, Saliona and Chambidzi in the southern part of the Nkhotakota District in central Malawi Region. Over 3,000 families were left homeless and are now seeking shelter at Chinkwambo, Benga and Chibotera schools and at the Mtetsewe Catholic Prayer house. All these communities are in urgent need of assistance.

The process of gathering accurate information to determine the extent of the damage is difficult as most affected areas remain inaccessible. Some 25,000 people are now estimated to have been affected in the initial areas of Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts. The initial needs assessment carried out by the Malawi Red Cross Society, the first organisation to deliver relief items, reported that a total of 7,678 people were in need of immediate assistance such as clean water, shelter, food and clothing. In addition 22 more villages were reported to have been hit by further flooding in the Chikwawa District. In the Karonga district, the Mlombo area is the most affected with 69 villages devastated, and 15 villages are severely affected in the Ngelenge area. In these lowland villages residential properties were destroyed, domestic animals and crops were washed away, and hundreds of hectares of maize and rice fields have been washed away. Over 8,000 households (40,000 persons) are reported to be homeless, and are currently accommodated in school blocks. Efforts to further assess the situation remain difficult due to infrastructural damage and continued rain.

In the southern part of Nkhotakota District, the heavy rains of 24 and 25 March left people from more than 20 villages homeless in the areas of Traditional Authority Mwadzama and Malengachanzi, central Malawi. Also most of this area is inaccessible, as most bridges have been damaged by the floods.

The Government's Department of Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation is co-ordinating the country's operation. Ongoing assessments are being conducted jointly by the District Administration, supported by non-governmental and police authorities. The Ministry of Health is conducting health education, focusing particularly on water and sanitation issues.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action


Didier Cherpitel, the Secretary General of the Federation, undertook a visit to Mozambique on 23-24 March. Productive discussions were held with the MRCS, Federation and PNS delegates, the UNDP Resident Representative, and the Prime Minister. A field visit was made to Magoanine, a resettlement area where nearly 1,000 families are accommodated and supported by the Maputo branch of the MRCS.

A series of weekly Red Cross-sponsored water and sanitation meetings continue to exchange experiences, information, and recommendations. The Red Cross and Red Crescent is undertaking water and sanitation work in the following accommodation centres: the Magoanine resettlement area in Maputo City, 7 centres in Maputo Province, 17 centres in Gaza Province, and 7 centres in Sofala Province. A proposal for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of water and sanitation facilities to flood victims in southern Gaza Province has been formulated.

Two Red Cross assessment teams are currently surveying rehabilitation needs in southern and central Mozambique. The Provincial Health Directorate in Manica Province has trained 20 people, 6 of whom are from the MRCS (5 volunteers and a health technician).


With the funding from the Federation now available, the Botswana Red Cross Society is in the process of rehabilitating the two selected villages in the Kgatleng District (Kgomodiatshaba and Artesia village). The Disaster Co-ordinator visited the area in order to prepare the community for the cement brick moulding exercise, liaising with the local authorities in the process. Ten Red Cross Volunteers as well as local community members will be involved. The objective is to mould at least 10,000 cement bricks in all the villages, which will be used in the construction of 10 small houses in each village. One of the Red Cross needs assessment team is currently assessing the needs in Botswana.


The results and follow-up planning process of the country wide assessments conducted by government and NGOs (including the BSRCS) is almost complete.


As volunteers and staff in the affected provinces continue distributions, the exercise is made difficult by the lack of adequate vehicles (and fuel) at provincial and district levels. From the 25 to 28 March, distribution of food and non-food items took place in Plumtree (Makhulela), Gwanda (Nhwali, Buvuma, Seboza, Mhalipe, Fumukwo, Ngoma, John West Nyohwane, Bethel and Phatama) and certain areas of Matobo Districts (Tjewando, Mahetse and Gohole). 100 families in Silizwe and Lushumbe areas in Matobo District, however, could not be reached because of impassable roads. The distributions were conducted by the PPO and 7 volunteers trained in first aid and home based care, assisted by local official such as the District Social Welfare Officer or chiefs. Amongst the beneficiaries, priority has been given to school children, the elderly and to those victims whose homes have been washed away by the floods. The Red Cross volunteers are also providing education on health (hygiene, prevention of diseases), food (the handling of tinned food), and dissemination about the Red Cross.

The following relief items have been distributed in Masvingo and Matebeleland South:

Matebeleland South
7,210 kgs
4 220 kgs
30 kgs
130 kgs
11 kgs
134 kgs
Cooking Oil
101 litres
153 litres
Kapenta Fish
26 kgs
110 kgs
10 rolls
140 kgs
Butter Beans
184 kgs

In Manicaland, 42 families (approximately 250 people) are still displaced. One malaria death case has been reported and more cases are expected. The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare are preparing to set up treatment camps in the affected provinces, and the ZRCS has ensured the availability of tents through the provincial offices as well as providing Red Cross volunteers to assist in the treatment camps. The MRCS and Federation needs assessment team has initially concluded that the need for infrastructural rehabilitation in Manicaland is considerable, while there remains a significant need for food relief and the provision of shelter in certain areas (Chimanimani, Chipinge). The assessment teams are focusing on the problems of damage to water and sanitation facilities (latrines and water boreholes), and the measures which need to be taken to prevent and fight malaria and diarrhoea diseases. The volunteers carrying out health education in the affected areas are focusing on the promotion of hygiene, prevention of diarrhoea and water borne diseases, and Red Cross and Red Crescent information dissemination.

The British Red Cross consignment of 1 million water purification tablets and an initial delivery of 10,000 cooking sets arrived in Harare, and distribution is underway.


Members of the Red Cross Action Teams in the affected districts (trained volunteers) are carrying out assessments and assisting the displaced communities with water purification activities in the camps as well as conducting health education. The members of the Karonga Red Cross Action team are also undertaking search and rescue as part of the government assessment team.

A total of 65,000 people are now estimated to be affected by the floods. The number of target beneficiaries of the Malawi Red Cross has not yet been determined due to a lack of access to the affected areas.

In response to the initial floods, the Federation's Regional Delegation Harare has released the following items from its DP stock: 3 600 blankets, 995 tarpaulins, and 10 boxes of water purification tablets. The consignment is due to reach Blantyre, Malawi on 31 March.

Outstanding needs


The BRSC is still in urgent need of four wheel drive vehicles in order to gain access to the areas in need.


Food, clothes (including school uniforms), tents, plastic sheeting, and water purification tablets are still needed in the provinces. Clothes and food particularly for the under five children is urgently needed.


With the number of displaced people camped at schools and churches, there is an immediate requirement for temporary shelter (plastic sheeting), blankets, clothes, jerry cans, plastic buckets, water purification tablets, soap, mosquito nets, and kitchen sets.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media

In Mozambique, the national solidarity campaign contributions have now reached US$ 460,000, with 80 mt of relief items contributed.

In Zimbabwe, the working relationship with Civil Protection Unit remains effective, with meetings held both at National and provincial levels. During such meetings issues pertaining to transport problems are discussed, resulting in the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) offering four seven mt trucks to be used in the operation. In Manicaland, items donated to the Civil Protection Unit are being distributed with assistance provided from Red Cross volunteers.

Bekele Geleta
Africa Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Operations Funding and Reporting Department

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