Botswana + 3 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #11, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000


New Information is highlighted/underlined

Regional Overview

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.

As of March 9, most of the central portion of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa are experiencing clear to partly cloudy skies. Rain and isolated thunderstorms are predicted throughout Mozambique.


Floodwaters: Local authorities have evacuated 200 families in the district of Chinde along the Zambezi River due to possible flows from the Chiré River, which runs into the Zambezi below the Cahorra Bassa Dam. However, the Cahorra Bassa Dam is estimated to have sufficient capacity to handle current water flows for approximately two months.

Displaced Populations: As of March 8, the US Department of Defense (DOD) Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) reports the following figures for accommodation centers:

Total Population by Provinces (to date)

Location Number Population
Gaza Province 35 103,713
Sofala/Manhica province 6 66,728
Inhambane Province 4 4,375
Maputo Province 33 89,773
Matola City 3 3,919
Total 81 268,589

Health Issues: The Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU) is monitoring the prevalence of diseases such as malaria, cholera, skin infections, and respiratory illnesses.

Three cholera response kits, consisting of tents and medical supplies and equipment, have reportedly been donated to the government by the UN World Health Organization and the Italian government. These kits can provide a contingency response capability if an outbreak of cholera occurs particularly in remote areas where most of the accommodation centers are located. USAID has also funded Save the Children (SCF)/US to establish cholera treatment centers.

MISAU is currently vaccinating people against measles and meningitis. MISAU also plans to establish more accommodation centers in isolated areas and evaluate primary needs of the affected populations.

Although current stocks of medicines are sufficient, there may be a need to replace current stocks. The condition of medical equipment is currently being evaluated.

Approximately 10,000 people in Chokwe are reportedly being transported to accommodation centers. SCF/US reports that the Spanish government is establishing a field hospital in Chiacalane.

Food: The GRM's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has reportedly established an emergency working group to coordinate seeds and tools distribution activities. The goal of this coordination cell is to eliminate duplication and identify gaps in distribution plans.

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

Water/Sanitation: UNICEF reports that two 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 jerry cans, some of which were provided by USAID.

Education: The Mozambican Ministry of Education estimates that 16 schools (11%) in Maputo City, 106 (30%) in Maputo Province, 136 (2%) in Gaza Province, 15 (2%) in Inhambane Province, 28 (7%) in Sofala Province, and 17 (4%) in Manhica Province sustained significant damage.

Relief Operations: As of March 9, the Government of Mozambique has registered 109 international NGOs in the country. Of this total, 37 are US based.

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

On March 9, the USAID/BHR/OFDA GO Team transported physicians, nurses, and medical supplies to isolated communities along the Buzi River using their rescue boats.

The U.N. On-Site Operations and Coordination Center (OSOCC) and the CMOC are coordinating the logistics of response activities in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). To feed into this process, USAID/DART members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are working with the OSOCC's Joint Logistics Operations Center to handle requests for transportation from the humanitarian community.

The USAID/DART is coordinating with the CMOC and USAID/Mozambique to establish a common assessment format to support a standardized information database.

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

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.

The operation in Mozambique is now the largest foreign aid airlift in Africa since the Rwanda crisis six years ago. The JTF is actively engaged in optimizing cooperation between the numerous military and civilian aviation assets.

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. Also included in the 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 South African Air Force reported that with most of the emergency rescue work completed, flight crews from several nations are now concentrating on deliveries of food and non-food relief to affected areas. Road crews have managed to repair several segments of the country's main north-south roadway and it is anticipated that more foodstuffs will be transported by vehicle.

The Government of Canada (GOC), through Canada's International Development Agency's (CIDA), contributed an additional $6.8 million bringing the total contribution to $11.6 million. The contribution will be channeled through the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

Médecins du Monde, a medical NGO, conducted an exploratory mission up the Buzi River, west of Beira, on March 8 and is coordinating with the UN to bring relief supplies to the affected populations.

WFP reported that their food stocks in Mozambique total more than 8,000 metric tons, with an additional 18,500 tons in transit. WFP plans to deliver the additional food in-country aid via truck and train.

The GHW (a German NGO) has 10 water/sanitation experts in Beira training locals in the water systems. In addition, GHW has eight water purification units that are capable of producing 6,000 to 12,000 liters per hour. The German military will provide helicopter support to water/sanitation assessment teams.

Norwegian Church Aid personnel are evaluating the best location for their four water purification units, each capable of producing 450 cubic meters per day. In addition, the Spanish Red Cross has established 10 small water purification units in Chokwe.

The United Kingdom personnel will soon establish a humanitarian logistics cell at the airport to support the INGC air coordination cell. The airport cell will establish controls and train local staff on procedures and will lead to an eventual hand-over of responsibilities.

The South African Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, transported to Mozambique by AIRSERVE, is transporting food, non-food, and medical personnel for NGO's in the Beira and Save areas.


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.


The Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) is providing emergency assistance to flood victims through the Civil Protection Department of the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing.

The UN team for Zimbabwe is coordinating with the GOZ and international NGO's in the assessment fforts.

The Zimbabwean Red Cross and other international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are assisting with disaster needs.

Cyclone Leon-Eline hit the southeastern areas of Zimbabwe on February 22. The heavy rains continued through March 1. The 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.

According to estimates from GOZ officials and the international community, the estimated population directly impacted by the floods is 250,000-300,000. The current death toll is 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.

Reductions of up to 5% and 8% respectively on national production of cotton and rain crops are expected, with unspecified additional impacts on sugar, tobacco, and other crops.

Immediate needs identified by the GOZ include access to or rescue of people in isolated areas, evacuation of populations in vulnerable areas, and provision of immediate relief (food, water, shelter, healthcare, etc.) to displaced persons.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe 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 continues 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.

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 reportedly plans to provide, by helicopter, 25 MT of emergency rations consisting of rice, beans and sugar to some 30,000 people in the coastal town of Mahanoro.

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

Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)

Country USG Agency Activities funded
Mozambique USAID/OFDA Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency relief activities
USAID/OFDA Grant to WFP for the provision of relief commodities and logistical support.
USAID/OFDA Grant to Save the Children/U.S. for emergency health initiatives in Gaza Province, for approximately 55,000 beneficiaries.
USAID/OFDA 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.
USAID/OFDA Grant to Airserv for support to rescue operations and air transport.
USAID/OFDA Additional support for search and rescue and emergency relief operations
USAID/OFDA Local procurement of emergency food aid
USAID/OFDA Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits
USAID/FFP Emergency food relief
Botswana USAID/OFDA Procurement of emergency sanitation systems
South Africa USAID/OFDA Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency supplies
Zimbabwe USAID/OFDA 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 f looding 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.