Botswana + 2 more

Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe: Floods Appeal No. 04/2000 Situation Report No. 4

Situation Report
Originally published

Appeal no. 04/2000 (revision 2) - Period covered: 2 March -7 March, 2000
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.

While flood rescue and relief efforts continue in Mozambique, the emphasis has now shifted from search and rescue to providing urgently needed food, water and medicine. Humanitarian agencies are struggling to overcome logistics constraints and to clear warehouses of existing stock to make way for arriving quantities of relief items. A major constraint in this respect continues to be a lack of vehicles to transport staff and relief items.

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, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. While the process of gathering accurate information to assess the extent of the damage has been impeded by a lack of access to the area, some 900,000 people are estimated to have been affected, with hundreds of thousands left homeless or destitute. Main road and rail lines have been severed, with widespread damage to other infrastructure. While the relief response from government and other agencies was mounted, the size and scope of the disaster has been overwhelming. 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 NGO’s.

Mozambique was first hit by torrential rains at the beginning of February. The areas worst affected were Maputo City, Maputo Province and Gaza Province. The cyclone continued inland, causing severe flooding in the Northern and Mpupmalanga Provinces of South Africa, around Francistown and the eastern corridor of Botswana, and Swaziland. On 21 February, a new cyclone hit the eastern coast of Mozambique, and affected Zimbabwe where torrential rains caused widespread flooding in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midland Provinces. Cultivated land was destroyed and it is feared that severe food shortages will occur in the longer term.

The first priority in the affected countries has been to rescue marooned people, then to provide basic relief assistance. To respond to the disaster, the Federation launched an appeal on February 11 for Mozambique and Botswana, and later extended it to Swaziland and Zimbabwe following a dramatic expansion of the affected area. The evolving nature of the situation together with the management and co-ordination requirements in the region have now escalated to such an extent that additional support is urgently needed. With flood waters now receding, delivering assistance by helicopter and air drops is essential.

Latest events

In Mozambique, amid reports that more rain was expected from Maputo to Sofala Province, according to the latest disaster assessments the most critically affected areas continue to be the Limpopo, Save, and Buzi river basins. Latest figures provided by the Mozambican Government's disaster management authority, the Instituto Nacional de Gestao das Calamidades (INGC), indicate that in the Limpopo river basin there are over 110,000 displaced people with more than 700,000 having been affected. In the Save river basin there are 60,000 displaced with an estimated 200,000 affected and in the Buzi river basin there are nearly 41,000 displaced people, with nearly 200,000 affected. The INGC stated that some 473,000 people required food aid, with the remainder requiring other forms of assistance. The INGC also indicated that boats were still urgently needed along the Save river and there was a critical need for more tents, blankets, cooking utensils and plastic sheeting. While there have been reports of cholera cases, the threat of an outbreak remains under control. The prevalence of malaria, however is high, and skin infections are the increase. The Mozambican Ministry of Health, assisted by the Red Cross Red Crescent, continues cholera prevention campaigns in the camps. In terms of water and sanitation, it remains impossible in many places to dig latrines because of water. Authorities are therefore requesting prefab latrines and latrine containers. WFP is now distributing 100 mt of food per day to beneficiaries, with a target of 250,000 persons accommodated in reception centers and camps. WFP has indicated that sufficient stocks are available.

The Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) launched a national solidarity appeal, with USD 300,000 received as of 5 March, in addition to used clothing which is being sorted and packed into kits for vulnerable groups. International corporations working in Mozambique are now also showing interest in donating to this appeal.

Humanitarian organisations cited a need for more coordination between search and rescue efforts, particularly in the Save-Buzi area. The government, in particular, has emphasised the need for more coordination and control in the distribution of food aid and relief items.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

The Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) is in the process of carrying out their intervention, after the first emergency operation. A new needs assessment has been carried out in Letlhkeng District where two villages were visited. At the same time, 8 families were provided with tents and clothes from the BRCS emergency store. On Tuesday 7 March the BRCS Disaster Co-ordinator will be carrying out a major needs assessment together with a German Red Cross Delegate and other resource people from the Society and the local community in Kgatleng District. As a first step, the BRCS aims at assisting people in two villages in the two Districts of Kthatleng and Letlhkeng Districts, situated in the south of the country. In this area, mud houses collapsed, crops were washed away, and the current soil erosion is dramatic. The BRCS plans an intervention which links immediate relief with improvement in the water sanitation conditions. BRCS stresses the importance of a culturally appropriate involvement where the local people approve of and contribute to the operation. Although volunteers are involved in all the affected areas, 20 youth volunteers are currently working at the headquarters. Basic training is being carried out in first aid, health education and disaster response in the target villages. Volunteers are also collecting contributions from local people such as clothes and food.

In Swaziland, while urgently in need of additional funds and awaiting donations such as tents which have not yet arrived, the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society (BSRCS) is currently focusing on two areas, increasing local awareness/fundraising and training. The BSRCS is playing an instrumental role in liaising with the media. A local fundraising campaign in Lubombo Region is scheduled for the weekend of 11-12 March, 2000 in co-operation with the Regional Administration. The Government has asked the Red Cross to facilitate a workshop on distribution. The BSRCS stresses the urgent need for food parcels because both crops and food storage depots have been destroyed.

The weather in Zimbabwe continues to provoke flooding, and the Government has now launched a USD 21.2 million appeal for assistance in order to assist in the provision of food, shelter, potable water, clothing and emergency medical supplies. The ZRCS is involved in all four affected provinces and assessing specific needs and commitments by other humanitarian organisations. In some areas, the evacuation exercise by the army helicopters has been finalised, but essential follow-up in certain areas remains impossible due to the lack of access by road.

Red Cross volunteer activities are focusing on first aid and health education. At the headquarters level, the Red Cross Disaster Committee, comprising of the Disaster Co-ordinator, the administrator, the finance and the information officer, is meeting regularly to coordinate the assistance. The Red Cross National Training Centre has started a training of trainers courses involving participants from affected areas. The public continues to respond well to the appeal. The ZRCS is expecting contributions from commercial companies. Private individuals are donating food (mealie-meal, dried fish, salt) and non-food items (clothing, shoes) to the National Society. Donors are expressing an interest in supporting both immediate and post-emergency needs.

Basic relief items

The following basic relief items have been transported and will be distributed primarily in Mozambique (Maputo) and Zimbabwe.

  • water purification tablets: 1,788,000 (1,518,000 arrive between 3-6 March).
  • water units: 6 (arrived on 3 March).
  • blankets: 50,560 (7,500 arrived between 3 - 4 March).
  • jerry cans: 22,000 (48 arrived on 4 March).
  • Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS): 125,000 (arrived on 3 March).
  • tarpaulin: 46,000 (500 arrived on 3 March).
  • tents: 1,100 (800 arrived between 3-4 March).
  • WHO Kits: 3 (arrived on 5 March).
  • plastic sheeting: 200 (200 rolls arrived on 5 March).

The following items (and quantities) are due to arrive over the next few days:
  • mobile warehouses: 10.
  • cholera kits: 12.
  • emergency water kits: 2,000.
  • drinking water filters: 2,000 (pieces).
  • cooking sets: 2,000 (pieces).
  • inflatable boats: 5.
  • hygiene kits: 950.
  • mosquito nets: 3,000.
  • BP-5 (high protein biscuits): 900 (boxes).
  • plastic buckets: 5,040 (pieces).
  • toilet soap: 19,440 (pieces).

The table below summarises the relief items distributed to date to three locations in Mozambique:

Large quantities of fansidar to treat malaria cases are urgently required.

Assessments and Logistics

The Red Cross and Red Crescent have negotiated the use of a helicopter for assessment purposes for 3 -4 days. A joint American, German Red Cross and Federation team is currently assessing the situation in Xia-Xia and Shibuto, focussing on capacities and mechanisms to distribute non-food and on emergency water needs. A report will follow shortly. Similar assessment missions are underway or planned to assess the rehabilitation of wells, hand pumps and other water sources in Maputo province, and the Federation's Watsan team will start rehabilitation of similar water points in Chokwe.

The warehousing capacity at Maputo airport remains extremely limited, and in agreement with OCHA the Federation will erect two mobile warehouses (rubhalls) in support of the operation.

Other agencies action

The WFP has indicated that 9,000 mt of food had been delivered to an estimated 250,000 people, and preparations are currently underway to implement a food aid distribution plan for about 650,000 people for up to six months. In addition, the INGC stated that in the Limpopo river basin there were at present about 326,000 food aid beneficiaries, in the Save river basin about 45,000, and in the Buzi river basin 102,000. WFP has established two temporary camps at Bilene and Chiaguelene in Gaza Province to deal with the growing numbers of flood victims being transported to higher ground. It said 36,000 people were already receiving food and medical aid in these camps.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has indicated near-total crop losses in the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. Serious crop losses were also expected in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, with preliminary estimates from provincial authorities indicating that at least 150,000 hectares of food crops have been lost to the floods in the five affected provinces. The southern provinces account for an estimated 13 percent of the total cereal production. Some 30% of cattle have also been lost in the three southern provinces.

Outstanding needs

The operation is in urgent need of cash contributions to effectively transport and deliver the in-kind assistance received to date. Blankets, tents, plastic sheeting, and kitchen sets are still needed, as well as fansidar to treat the increasing number of malaria cases. Specific quantities will be communicated in the next situation report. In addition, vehicles (both heavy transport trucks and light cars/pickups) to assist the logistics, assessment, and management of the operation are also urgently required.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media

Support from various PNSs, actually present and strongly cooperating with the Federation team, is highly appreciated. Positive discussions have taken place with the ICRC's Head of Nairobi Logistics Unit. The ICRC has offered to assist with services (food, medical, non-food and transport).


Due to the complex and evolving nature of the operation, a detailed and updated list of contributions will be included in the next situation report. See Annex 1 for details. All donors are encouraged to complete and submit Pledge Management Notes (PMNs) when a cash or in-kind contribution has been made or sent.

All in-kind consignments must bear a Federation commodity tracking number, allocated by the Federation Logistics Service. Please contact Misha Chitahvili at phone +41 22 730 43 05, or by email:

Please direct other operational questions or queries to Richard Hunlede, Federation Desk Officer; phone +41 22 730 3314, or email:

Bekele Geleta
Africa Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Operations Funding and Reporting Department