Botswana + 3 more

Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe: Floods Appeal No. 04/2000 Situation Report No. 6

Appeal no. 04/2000 (Revision 2) - Period covered: 10 March - 16 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.

The delivery of immediate relief to flood victims in the four affected countries continues, and the International Federation is supporting the respective National Societies by organising assessment teams to begin the process of determining the longer-term rehabilitation needs. The teams will be in the region by Sunday, 19 March, and will begin their work on Monday.

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. Over two million people are estimated to be affected throughout the region. Main road and rail lines were severed, with widespread damage to other infrastructure. Cultivated land was destroyed and it is feared 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 was to rescue marooned people, then to provide 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. The evolving nature of the situation together with the management and co-ordination requirements in the region required a major infusion of additional support.

Latest events


Rains continue, making the relief operation more difficult than expected. A few areas remain inaccessible and necessitate the use of helicopters, but few are available. A countrywide shortage of fuel has worsened and long queues have formed at the few filling stations with supplies available. While the Zimbabwe Red Cross has acquired some fuel thus enabling the staff and volunteers to reach the affected areas, transport of relief supplies has been difficult. On 15 March, however, the Civil Protection Unit offered the use of four 7-ton trucks including fuel for a period of one week starting 16 March. An army helicopter has also been put at the disposal of the National Society in order to reach areas otherwise inaccessible, such as Chimanimani. There is no immediate improvement of the general fuel pipeline in sight.


In view that the flood danger is subsiding, the main assistance activities of both the government and NGOs are now concentrated on the reconstruction phase.


The rains have decreased and the floods receded; up to 5,000 people displaced have returned to their original homes in the most affected areas of Manzini, Hhohho, Chiselweni, Lubombo situated in the northern part of the country’s low veld region.


The rains in southern Mozambique which have inhibited air transport and delayed repairs of the main road leading north from Maputo, have moved northwards. During the first part of this week heavy rains in the central part of Mozambique again brought about flooding, making it impossible for a Red Cross team to reach Nova Mambone in northern Inhambane Province as planned. Rains in the southern Africa region have once again increased the risk of potential floods if dams start overflowing.

The deteriorating situation and ongoing needs assessments led the WFP to launch a revised Emergency Operation Resource Appeal on 13 March, covering 650,000 people in Mozambique who need food aid. Even though food is being airlifted to the provinces every day, logistics are delaying distribution. There are still many people with too little or no food. Shelter is also still inadequate in many instances. As river levels decrease, the situation in the victim’s areas of origin are revealed. Chokwe is a case in point, with little or no food available, no drinking water, deep mud, and bodies of dead people and animals creating a very unhealthy environment.

In Nampula Province, there are now approximately 90 accommodation centres providing shelter for 30,000-60,000 people.

At a coordination meeting for all delegates (both Federation and bilateral) which took place on 14 March, the MRCS presented a list of current priority districts and areas in the affected provinces.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Note: Please see the attached logistics pipeline table for a summary of deliveries and items enroute to the region.


A volunteer evaluation of MRCS/CVM emergency activities is ongoing. A preliminary report on health observations in Maputo has been issued, focusing particularly on accommodation centres.

Recommendations include the urgent construction of latrines in Magoanine, and an overall need to educate the Mozambican population in hygiene. The current volunteer training programme is deemed adequate, and as a result Red Cross volunteers will promote community health, rather than concentrate on the provision of first aid.

The new MRCS/CVM Water and Sanitation technician now participates in daily WatSan coordination meetings. Work is in progress to improve logistics through meetings between the Federation and the MRCS/CVM joint distribution teams, and recruitment of additional staff.

In Beira, heavy rain continues to affect various districts of Sofala and the outlook is for more rain over the next 5 days. Reports from various sources indicate river levels, particularly the Buzi, have begun to rise again with faster moving currents. Reports of flooding on the Zambezi at Zungu have been received, as well as indications that the Kahora Bassa lake is filling up again. It is still too early in Sofala to state that the emergency is over, and while food seems to be reaching beneficiaries, there are huge shelter needs to be met. Latest figures given by local administrative authorities in the main affected areas are as follows:


Machanga remains the priority destination for relief items, especially shelter, as there are approximately 10,000 families living in public buildings most of which are roofless.

Climatic conditions are affecting the relief operation, restricting the airlift and paralysing road transportation.

Relief distributions

It was not possible to make distributions by road on Monday and Tuesday this week (13 and 145 March), but the helicopter airlift using civilian units of co-operating military forces (2 Sea Kings and 1 Blackhawk) to Machanga continued, delivering 64 tents.

The following items are due to be distributed during the course of the week of 13-17 March: in Machinga, approximately 15 mt of mixed non food items as follows: 100 tents, 1,000 tarpaulins, 1,000 jerry Cans (20 L), 3,000 blankets, 841 cooking sets, 40 boxes of soap, 600,000 litres of purification tablets. The delivery of 400 tents by helicopter will be complete by the end of the week. In Chibabava, the following items will be delivered by road: 700 tarpaulins, 1,400 blankets, 700 jerrycans, 420,000 litres of purification tablets.


The Beira Sub-delegation is currently operating with 5 delegates, including 1 team leader (Head of Sub-delegation), 1 finance/administration delegate, 1 relief administrator, 1 logistics delegate, and 1 health delegate.

The Beira Sub-delegation continues promoting strong cooperation with the National Society, sharing information on activities, planning, and implementation. All relief and health activities are discussed jointly and approved by relevant ONS staff. The CVM is receiving support in the following areas:

  • storage of a local donation by LWF of tents and tarpaulins;
  • supporting CVM health posts with water purification tablets (exact quantities and details being worked out);
  • support to CVM volunteers being trained as boat handlers (thereby increasing CVM disaster preparedness capacity).

The Head of Sub-delegation Beira and the Relief Delegate visited Machanga on 15 March to discuss co-operation for the current relief distribution with the District Branch and the local administration. CVM volunteers will be involved in distribution of commodities. Support has also been offered to the CVM for their proposed relief operation along the Buzi river.


The Regional Health Delegate is currently in Mozambique to support the MRCS health coordinator, and together with the MRCS’ water and sanitation technician, a visit was paid to Macia, Chaquelane and Chokwe in Gaza Province.

From 1 - 8 March, Red Cross volunteers attended to 2,929 sick people, 177 of whom were referred to health care units. During this period 5,778 packets of chlorine were used to purify water for 8,977 people. 30 new volunteers are being trained.

Maputo Province

The rains created new hardship, and people returned to the accommodation centres to seek shelter. Health education activities continue. A water treatment plant was installed by the Spanish Red Cross at Ressano Garcia, and a second one at Moamba. In Xinavane 20,000 people are profiting from Red Cross volunteers’ advice on hygiene until a water treatment plant can be installed.

Gaza Province

At the moment, 47 Red Cross volunteers are working south of the Limpopo River in Chaquelane (18), Chokwe (18) and Macia (11). According to the on-site MRCS coordinator, there are now 65,900 evacuees in Chaquelane. The Red Cross intervention is focused on distribution of relief items. The Red Cross have constructed 100 latrines, while Oxfam is concentrating on the provision of urban water systems, while the Federation and MRCS are working with manual water pumps. North of the Limpopo River, 6 Red Cross volunteers assisted 2,273 people at the OMM centre during the 26 February - 6 March period. Some 967 were diagnosed as suffering from malaria. Meanwhile, 5 volunteers assisted 433 people at Marien Ngoabi, and another 5 volunteers assisted 5,193 people at the Wenela camp. In Chibuto, 4 teams of 3 volunteers worked in the four accommodation centres, assisting 1,877, 700, 880 and 900 displaced people respectively.

Inhambane Province

It has been agreed that Govuro will be assisted from Beira, and the provincial delegations in Inhambane and Sofala will coordinate activities in the Save river valley. A list of current needs for 5,400 families in Govuro and Mabote has been formulated.


Despite the delay in carrying out bank transfers, the Society continues to carry out activities on the basis of locally raised donations. Given the lack of logistics capacity (four wheel drive) and the means to cover fuel costs combined with the problem of a limited volunteer capacity, the consignment of relief items from the German Red Cross is considered beyond the capacity of the Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS). Therefore, the 7,350 blankets and 800 tents were delivered to 11 Districts by the National Disaster Management Office. The District Commissioners are responsible for the distribution locally and, where volunteer capacity allows, the Red Cross has taken part in the distributions. The exact figures of recipient villages are not yet available from the Districts.

These flood victims require blankets and tentswhile reconstructing their houses, as well as food items because they have lost their food storage and crops. The affected populations live in very different parts of the country with long distances between them. The fact that they are situated far away from Gaborone where the Red Cross capacity is centralised at the moment makes intervention difficult for the BRCS. With a view, therefore, to supporting certain targeted villages, the National Society Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator and the German Red Cross Delegate have conducted a visit to assess the situation and the Red Cross branch capacity. They also carried out two needs assessments, in Kweneng District situated to the west of Gaborone and Kgatleng in the southeast of the country (areas visited were Mahalpye, Palapye, Kasane, Maun, Ghanzi and Francistown). A small needs assessment was carried out in Kweneng District, more specifically in Letlhakeng and its surrounding villages, Sesung and Ditshegwana. At the same time, 8 families whose houses had collapsed were given tents, clothing and food. The main problem areas are the shortage of water supply and poor sanitation. In Kgatleng District, where the second needs assessment was carried out, the following villages were visited: Kgomodiatshaba, Malotwane, Leshibitse, Olifant Drift, Belabela and finally Artesia which was the most affected village. A total of 74 houses were reported to have collapsed and according to the local authorities it is likely that the number is, in reality, higher. The assessment team delivered clothes and food items (mealie meal, sugar, tea, beans, soup) to the 74 households, items that were collected from local donations from companies and individuals in Gaborone. Red Cross volunteers from the Gaborone area intend to train local youth in Artesia to form bricks for the reconstruction of houses.

In its assistance approach the BRCS will focus on rehabilitation activities such as water/sanitation rehabilitation, health education (mainly the prevention of disease) and reconstruction of houses. Funds for these activities, however, are lacking and at the moment the National Society is relying on human resources and public support. Because the volunteer capacity of the Society is insufficient, training and mobilisation of youth volunteers is ongoing and has high priority in the action plan of the BRCS Disaster Office. Also, the public is continuing to contribute individual donations such as food, clothes, children’s toys, and cash. Further inputs are needed to sustain a proper level of assistance to the flood victims in the long term. The National Society’s capacity is further strained by the involvement in assisting the increasing number of refugees from Namibia, and therefore still requires outside assistance.


The Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society (BSRCS) has mobilised 122 volunteers in the four most affected regions (30 in Manzini, 22 in Hhohho, 35 in Chiselweni and 35 in Lubombo).

Activities carried out by the volunteers include relief distribution of items provided by the government, as follows: 4,500 kg of maize; 2,000 kg of beans, 100 bars of soap, 100 roles of plastic sheeting. The 100 tents donated by the Swiss Red Cross were distributed in the above four regions, and small quantities of in-kind donations received in the Red Cross Branches (oil, beans, maize, toys, clothing) from local business men and embassies have also been distributed.

Training of Red Cross staff and volunteers on needs assessment, first aid and public health education has taken place. The Regional Disaster Preparedness Delegate from Harare has visited several flood affected areas and conducted a 3-day training course on needs assessment for both Red Cross staff and government officers.

The National Disaster Management task force and the Red Cross will carry out a joint needs assessment and it is anticipated that further rehabilitation needs will be identified once the findings are released. The present BSRCS relief intervention is targeting 5,000 beneficiaries. The BSRCS is planning a long term programme focusing on the following areas:

  • agricultural rehabilitation (provision of seeds and tools);
  • reconstruction of damaged houses (provision of building materials);
  • Disaster Preparedness;
  • public health education.

Out of the CHF 50,000 allocated by DREF, 15,000 has been used for the purchase of food items, training workshops, and supporting volunteer action in the field.


While supplies continue to arrive by air, local purchases of items such as blankets, tents, kitchen sets and soap have taken place, most of this having been distributed by the Provincial Red Cross Branches. Nevertheless, due to the fuel crisis, deliveries of relief to the provinces has been at a standstill for several days. On March, however, the ZRCS loaded an ICRC truck with 12 tons of food relief which was immediately transported to the province of Matebeleland South. In addition, the trucks provided by CPU will enable the ZRCS to transport most of the food and non-food items currently in stock out to the provinces. The lack of fuel is also hampering the effectiveness of the provincial teams.

Warehouse facilities in Manicaland and Matabeleland South are available at the branch offices and no cost (although temporary) storage space has been offered in Masvingo by the owners of a warehouse. Activities are being carried out in all four provinces by groups of volunteers, notably 13 in Masvingo (where, in addition, 20 new community volunteers have been trained), 44 in Matebeleland South and two deployed volunteers in Midlands Province.

Continuous registration of beneficiaries by Branch Officers and volunteers is taking place in all four provinces as more and more areas become accessible. An increasing number of victims are suffering from malaria and there is also a fear of outbreak of cholera, especially in the areas where the victims live in makeshift camps with no immediate access to clean water. The numbers of beneficiaries so far recorded in the provinces are as follows: 1,980 in Masvingo, 2,670 in Matebeleland South and 267 in Midlands Province.

Distribution of relief items

Locally purchased and donated food items are still being distributed. The total amount of distributed items are as follows:

Food items:

  • Masvingo: 4,325 kg of mealie meal, 359 kg of salt, 729 litres of oil, 705 kg of beans, 700 kg of dried fish.
  • Matebeleland South: 3,670 kg of mealie meal, 182 kg of dried fish and 375 l of oil.

Non food items:

  • Masvingo: 169 blankets, 20 rolls of plastic sheeting;
  • Matebeleland South: 1,466 blankets.

The Midlands Province Branch, which is a less affected area, has distributed food, tents, clothes and blankets.


The teams carrying out the registration exercise are lead by supervisors who are trained in first aid, basic health care, food security and water/sanitation awareness. Registration visits are combined with sensitisation sessions to the affected populations on the above issues.

Water and sanitation

A Federation-led team is currently undertaking an assessment in the three most affected provinces, assessing the water and sanitation conditions with a view to starting the rehabilitation of bore holes/wells, and a programme to start building latrines as it is expected that the majority of latrines in the affected areas have been flooded.

Water purification tablets are being distributed, and despite the supply of 1,000,000 from the British Red Cross, still more are needed.

Outstanding needs

Regional: Situation Report No. 5 (issued on 10 March, 2000) presented the table of remaining needs (below), but instructed that due to the limited storage capacity available at the airport in Mozambique and the ongoing logistics/transport constraints caused by bad weather, the Federation was attempting to clear and distribute existing stock, and that the actual despatch of further goods should be withheld before the mid-to-end of next week (22 - 24 March). The Federation still requests that the despatch of items be withheld until further instruction.

Family tents
Plastic sheeting
Plastic rolls
WHO Health Kits
Kitchen sets
Collapsible jerry cans
Collapsible water bladders
Water purification tablets
Hand pumps
Clean-up kits (sanitation)

The operation is also in urgent need of cash contributions to effectively transport and deliver the in-kind assistance received to date.

Botswana: Vehicles and cash for fuel and volunteer facilitation (for workshops).

Zimbabwe: There is still an urgent need for three 4x4 vehicles and 2 trucks. There is also a need for cash to cover transport and warehouse costs.

Swaziland: The BSRCS has stated that the concentration is on rehabilitation and development needs of the affected communities. The outstanding needs relate to the provision of assistance to the 5,000 victims, with outstanding needs of 300 tents, 400 tarpaulins, 1,000 blankets, and 1,500 bars of soap. Anticipated later need will relate to a long-term rehabilitation programme.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media


The BRSC works closely together with the National Disaster Management Office and, when carrying out assessments and distributions, particularly with the Village Disaster Committees. The BRCS maintains a weekly radio programme on Tuesdays, and the Disaster Co-ordinator undertook radio interviews discussing both the floods, activities that the Red Cross is involved in, and future planning.


A major contribution of US$ 75,000 to the MRCS National Solidarity Campaign was made by Cervejas de Mocambique (a brewery). In addition, the Mozambique Red Cross Society has received 1 bale of blankets, 2 bales of clothes and USD 1,000 in cash from Lesotho Red Cross. Overall co-ordination of the relief effort has improved, with a plan of the overall needs established and details on other agencies actions shared.

The UNDAC/INGC will continue to be kept informed of the Red Cross and Red Crescent actions, and coordination with other NGOs to avoid duplication of deliveries. It is becoming apparent that the Federation is the largest supplier of non food items in the province.


The Zimbabwe Red Cross continues to have an excellent relationship with donors, banks, large supermarket chains, large companies and individuals. The following companies or organisations have contributed locally: Barclays Bank, Zimbank, Zimtrade, Zim Sugar Refineries, M E Chrous, Union of Jews in Zimbabwe, Save the Children, First Mutual, Fidelity of Zimbabwe, with a total of CHF 168,000 donated.

The United States Ambassador made an immediate grant of US$ 25 000 to the Federation coordinated appeal for the purchase of 2,000 blankets, 2,000 water containers, and 400 kitchen sets, and to keep three Zimbabwe Red Cross Health education teams in the field for a month.

The Saudi Arabian Red Crescent has contributed food, shelter, and medical assistance (two planes) to the regional appeal. The assistance will be arriving shortly.

Meetings with governmental departments and other organisations/NGOs are taking place on a regular basis. The Civil Protection Unit chairs daily meetings in all provinces and the relationship with the Unit and the local NGOs is very good. The media - both press and radio/TV have, almost on a daily basis, made reference to the work of the ZRCS, with the Secretary General being interviewed not only by the National press but also by international media.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross has, with support from the Federation’s LISN Project, established a flood relief information website. The website contains situation reports and photographs and will be used to highlight the activities of the Zimbabwe Red Cross during the relief and rehabilitation phases. The website address is and will be updated regularly by Zimbabwe Red Cross staff.


See Annex 1 for details.

Bekele Geleta
Africa Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Operations Funding and Reporting Department