Botswana + 3 more

Mozambique floods: Summary of assistance provided by the UK Department for International Development

The Department for International Development (DFID) is responsible for the UK Government's response to disasters and emergencies overseas.

Since the middle of January prolonged and exceptionally heavy rains have caused flooding throughout Southern Africa. These were especially serious in southern Mozambique. By 10 February some 200,000 people were estimated to be affected. The UK provided early assistance during this initial phase of the disaster by channelling over £1.1 million to provide emergency relief such as tents, sanitation facilities, clean water, shelter and basic survival items. Water levels began to recede by the 22 February, some people began to return to their homes and relief efforts were successfully reaching those in need. The second phase of the floods was caused by further heavy rains and compounded by cyclone Eline which struck the coast of Mozambique on 21-22 February and progressed inland towards Zimbabwe where it deposited a massive amount of rain. Heavy rains were experienced again in South Africa and Swaziland. All this water was destined for southern and central Mozambique.

On 25-26 February river levels rose very quickly flooding a much larger area than had previously been inundated. Many people were unable to reach higher ground and where possible they sought refuge on roofs and in trees: at one stage an estimated 100,000 people were stranded. The UK immediately provided support to enable the South African Defence Force helicopters to continue their rescue operations. Commercial helicopters were also contracted from the region to join the operations, together with Royal Air Force helicopters deployed from the UK and helicopters from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort George which was redeployed from the Gulf to Mozambican waters. Rescue boats and specialist crews were also mobilised from the UK and over the following days DFID committed over £7 million for rescue operations and the provision of emergency relief such as shelter, water, sanitation, food and healthcare.

In total, DFID has allocated £20 million for humanitarian assistance to those affected by the floods. This money is being channelled both to ensure the effective continuation of relief efforts, but also to start immediate work on establishing emergency physical access through repairs to roads and bridges, rehabilitating health and education services and also to help re-establish the livelihoods of the affected population. For a full breakdown see attached table. The UK is currently the single largest donor to the international relief effort. In addition the British public themselves have contributed generously to the national appeal organised by the Disasters Emergency Committee. DFID has also provided £10 million in emergency budgetary support to help counteract the effect of the floods on the Government of Mozambique's revenues.

In addition to bilateral assistance, the UK provides 17% of all assistance committed by the European Commission. The Commission has committed over £15 million for Mozambique for relief and rehabilitation, (UK share £2.75 million).

Debt relief can be an element in assisting the rebuilding of a country's economy after such a catastrophe, freeing up national resources to be used alongside other forms of development assistance. Mozambique has already received substantial debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In June 1999, it received $1.72 billion in debt relief, and, following the revision to the HIPC framework which was agreed in September 1999, Mozambique will receive a further $250 million in debt relief, which started to flow from April this year. The major bilateral (government) creditors have agreed to suspend all Mozambique's debt payments until it completes the HIPC process, which is expected to be in early 2001. The UK Government had already agreed to provide immediate and complete relief on the remaining bilateral debts owed by Mozambique, and we were pressing other governments to do the same

In the longer term it is vital that we help Mozambique rebuild. DFID strongly supports the Government of Mozambique's overarching aim of poverty reduction and the gains they have made in providing basic health and education services. This matches our commitment to the international development goals, including halving the proportion of people in extreme poverty by 2015, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Mozambique Government. DFID already has a growing long term development programme in Mozambique, which is one of DFID's largest, focused on Zambezia Province, economic reform and the development of health, education and agriculture sectors. DFID has allocated a further £6 million for flood reconstruction efforts and we are currently assessing how this might be best spent.

DFID response to floods in Mozambique

Assessment Missions

  • DFID humanitarian specialists were sent to Mozambique during the initial stages of the disaster. In collaboration with DFID staff already present, they conducted rapid assessments and liaised with the Mozambique authorities and humanitarian organisations in the field over priority needs.
  • Support to the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC)


  • Funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) to support South African Defence Force helicopters in initial rescue phase: £627,000
  • Direct provision of 3 Puma, 1x SeaKing and 1 x Bell 212 helicopters: £1,500,000
  • Secondment of two logisticians into WFP to assist with tasking and coordination of flights: £20,000
  • 4 Puma helicopters and support from RAF: £1,150,000
  • RFA Fort George: 5 x SeaKing helicopters: £1,400,000
  • RAF mobile air movements team to Mozambique for air handling operation: £20,000
  • Specialist Naval communication team to ensure link up of RFA Fort George and United Nations: £20,000

Emergency Rescue Team

100 Boats, life rafts and specialist crews deployed from the UK: £756,000

Red Cross

1200 tents flown from DFID stockpiles for distribution by the Red Cross and Cash Contribution to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) consolidated appeal for Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland towards the provision of emergency potable water, shelter and rehabilitation of housing and essential non-food items: £2,000,000

World Food Programme (WFP)

Food Delivery and logistics operations (including ongoing helicopter operations): £2,000,000

United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)

Contribution to the UNICEF consolidated appeal for Mozambique covering access to sanitation facilities, care and re-settlement of displaced people, resumption of school activities and provision of health services and epidemiological surveillance. Also for the restocking of schools and health centres: £2,250,000

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

For the procurement of emergency relief items, logistical support and the coordination of relief efforts: £1,030,000

United Nations Development Programme

For assisting the Government of Mozambique with damage assessments and coordinating reconstruction efforts: £400,000

Emergency Access

To make emergency repairs to roads and bridges: £2,000,000

Provincial and District Administration

Grant to the United Nations Development Programme to repair and restock administrative facilities: £2,000,000

Non Governmental Organisations

  • Grants to ActionAid, Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, Care, Christian Aid, Food for the Hungry, World Vision, Concern Worldwide and HelpAge International for projects including emergency relief such as shelter, water, sanitation and healthcare, and to help reestablish the livelihoods of the affected population by providing seeds and tools and helping restart small businesses. Also a grant to Media Action International to provide information to flood affected people: £2,900,000

DFID has also provided assistance to other Southern African states as a result of the recent flooding:

  • Madagascar: £990,000 for immediate relief to those affected by cyclones Eline, Gloria and Hudah and the resulting flooding. This funding has been channelled through UNICEF for water, sanitation and health activities; WFP for food and delivery of relief items to isolated communities and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for needs assessments and procurement of essential relief items;
  • Botswana: In addition to Red Cross regional appeal, £53,000 contribution to UNICEF for blankets and provision of clean water and sanitation;
  • Zimbabwe: £250,000 of Red Cross Appeal contribution allocated for Zimbabwe.

Other links:

DFID website:

FCO Travel Advice: Mozambique:

IFRC website - Mozambique floods:

WFP website - Mozambique floods:

UNICEF website - Mozambique floods:

UNDP website:

May 2000