Botswana + 3 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #10, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published

Regional Overview

Additional rain has fallen throughout Mozambique over the past 24 hours, with the highest concentration in Maputo Province. Scattered rain showers and cloudy skies are predicted over the period of March 8-12, with the most precipitation falling in Gaza and Inhambane Provinces.

The number of affected people in the region is more than 1 million, and the press reports at least 400 deaths because of the flooding. However, the disaster relief community agrees that the death toll in Mozambique alone will probably climb into the thousands once the floodwaters recede sufficiently for assessments.

Mozambique was the first country to declare a disaster on February 7, with Botswana following on February 16 and South Africa on February 17. The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe declared a disaster on February 29.


Floodwaters: Local authorities have warned populations along the Zambezi River, and evacuated 200 families in the district of Chinde due to a rise in the water level as a preventive measure.

Displaced Populations: There are currently an estimated 68 accommodations centers established to assist internally displaced throughout Mozambique. In the Chibuto region (Gaza Province) approximately 11,800 people are located in 7 centers.

Health Issues: The Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU) is monitoring the prevalence of diseases such as malaria, cholera, skin infections, and respiratory illnesses. Effective disease surveillance systems will need to be further established to monitor health issues.

MISAU is currently vaccinating people against measles and meningitis.

Food: On March 7, WFP indicated that 94% of food aid deliveries were being shipped via air. The road from Vilanculos to Beira is currently passable, and the road between Macia and Chokwe should be repaired by March 9 which would facilitate future deliveries of assistance.

Water/Sanitation: UNICEF reports that two functioning wells in Xai-Xai have not been damaged or polluted in the flooding. Water supply is therefore available, but there are no water bladders. UNICEF plans to provide submersible pumps for these wells, which are capable of supplying 42 cubic meters of water and 28 cubic meters of water per hour respectively. UNICEF is also bringing two water purifiers to Xai-Xai in addition to water tanks, soap, and water containers, some of which were provided by USAID.

Water containers, water purification tablets, soap, and two water purifiers, capable of producing two cubic meters of water per hour, are also being transported to Chokwe.

Education: Based on preliminary assessments, the Mozambican Ministry of Education estimates that 16 schools in Maputo City, 106 in Maputo Province, 136 in Gaza Province, 15 in Inhambane Province, 28 in Sofala Province, and 17 in Manhica Province sustained significant damage.

Relief Operations: Several NGOs are working with local officials to assess the needs of populations along the mouth of the Save River.

Due to no immediate requirement for search and rescue, boat crews have transitioned to transporting relief commodities to populations only accessible by water.

Daily sectoral meetings (health, water/sanitation, shelter, etc.) have been established in Maputo, which should provide more detailed information on the condition and needs of displaced populations.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Response

On March 7, the USAID/BHR/OFDA GO Team conducted reconnaissance missions on the Buzi and Pungoe Rivers to identify obstacles such as sandbars and tides that could impact relief operations. Due to current tide levels, the team decided to limit operations to the high tide period. The GO Team has is coordinating relief efforts with the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP).

The U.N. On-Site Operations and Coordination Center (OSOCC) and the DOD Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) are coordinating the logistics response activities in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). In support of this initiative, the USAID/DART members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are working with the OSOCC’s Joint Logistics Operations Center to prioritize and facilitate requests for transportation from the humanitarian community.

The USAID/DART reports that daily coordination meetings have begun in Beira to organize response activities in the central and northern areas of Mozambique.

On February 7, the U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique declared a disaster and USAID provided an immediate $25,000 through USAID/Maputo to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) for emergency relief activities.

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Response:

In response to a request by the U.S. Embassy, DOD deployed a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) on February 17 to Mozambique and South Africa.

On March 3, the United States deployed a Joint Task Force (JTF) to conduct rescue and humanitarian relief operations. The JTF is currently synchronizing relief efforts via its Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC), distributing supplies, conducting aerial assessments, and performing search and rescue as required.

Local Response:

On February 23, U.N. agencies and the GRM jointly issued a consolidated appeal for $13.6 million for emergency relief and rehabilitation activities for a six-month period. The appeal included funding requirements for activities in the areas of food, shelter, health, water/sanitation, agriculture, education, and communication. Also included in the second appeal was a request by the GRM for assistance with rehabilitation and reconstruction costs, which are estimated at more than $50 million.

International Response:

Information on donor activities and international response to date is available at

On March 8, the Government of Kenya announced a contribution of $75,000 to WFP’s emergency operations.


The number of affected people in Botswana is estimated at 73,000.

The U.S. Embassy in Botswana declared a disaster on February 16. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided $25,000 through USAID/Gaborone for the procurement of emergency sanitation systems.

South Africa

Due to extensive flooding in the northeastern parts of South Africa and the resulting displacement of several small but isolated populations, U.S. Ambassador Lewis declared a disaster in these flood-affected areas on February 17. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 through USAID/South Africa to the South African Red Cross for the supply of blankets, food, and other relief items to 3,000 displaced persons in the Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces.


Cyclone Leon-Eline hit the southeastern areas of Zimbabwe on February 22. The heavy rains continued through March 1. The Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) declared a disaster in the southeastern provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo, and Matebeleland South on February 24. Midlands Province was also adversely affected. Damages to roads, bridges, dams, and public buildings such as schools and health facilities were recorded in all four provinces.

Based on a March 2 meeting between GOZ officials and the international community, the estimated population impacted by the floods is some 250,000, with the current death toll at approximately 80 people. Extensive losses of crops, livestock, and infrastructure have also been reported. The latest Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) report indicates that current food stocks may be sufficient from immediate needs, but additional food aid may be required for longer-term food security. Results from a detailed U.N. assessment are expected by March 10.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald issued a disaster declaration on February 29. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 on March 1 through the U.S. Mission to support relief activities. USAID/OFDA continuse to monitor the situation and is in contact with the U.S. Embassy.


Cyclone Leon-Eline hit the east coast of Madagascar on February 17 and passed through the country approximately 80 km north of Antananarivo. Results from preliminary damage assessments conducted by the National Disaster Unit (CNS) and the National Disaster Response Steering Committee (CRIC) have just recently become available. These assessments estimate that the storm resulted in 61,355 people affected, 64 deaths, and 10,000 persons displaced. The report also indicates that 1,500 people are currently located in temporary shelters. Damage to infrastructure from floodwaters and landslides was also reported.

The situation was exacerbated by Tropical Storm Gloria, which crossed through a similar portion of Madagascar with heavy rains over the period of March 1-5. Specific information on the affects of Gloria is not yet available.

The U.S. Government and NGOs are collaborating with the Government of Madagascar (GOM) to provide assistance. Priority needs identified by the GOM are potable water, sanitation equipment, and cholera kits. Numerous local and international organizations have provided relief commodities and assistance to affected populations.

In response to a March 7 appeal by the GOM for international assistance, WFP announced plans to provide approximately 400 MTs of food assistance to affected populations over the next few days.

USAID/BHR/OFDA is deploying a Regional Advisor from its office in Nairobi to assess the current situation.

Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)

USG Agency
Activities funded
Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency relief activities
Grant to WFP for the provision of relief commodities and logistical support.
Grant to Save the Children/U.S. for emergency health initiatives in Gaza Province, for approximately 55,000 beneficiaries.
200 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6,000 water jugs, and 6,000 wool blankets from stockpiles via a DOD-funded aircraft to shelter 2,000 families.
Grant to Airserv for support to rescue operations and air transport.
Additional support for search and rescue and emergency relief operations
Local procurement of emergency food aid
Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits
Emergency food relief
Procurement of emergency sanitation systems
South Africa
Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency supplies
Grant to Zimbabwe Red Cross for emergency supplies
*Total DOD
* Current DOD funding figure does not include costs of JTF deployment, which are not yet available.

Regional Background

Higher than average rainfall coupled with 4 days of torrential rains from February 4-7 caused severe flooding in several countries in the southern African region. Reports indicate that this is the worst flooding in the region in several decades.

Cyclone Leon-Eline passed through the region over the week of February 20-26, bringing additional heavy rains and wind to areas already flooded.

Damage from the floods is extensive, isolating many areas and displacing populations in Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Public Donation Information

In the interest of effective coordination of public response, we encourage concerned citizens to provide monetary donations to appropriate organizations. To find out about contributions, USAID encourages the public to access its web site at or to contact its Humanitarian Hotline at 1-800-USAID-Relief between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The public can also directly contact those private voluntary organizations (PVOs) currently working in the region to provide monetary donations. Additionally, the public can contact InterAction, a coalition of voluntary humanitarian and development organizations that work overseas, via their web site ( Those interested in providing specific technical services or commodities should contact Volunteers in Technical Assistance's (VITA) Disaster Information Center for information and guidelines at (703) 276-1914.