Botswana + 2 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #12, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published


New Information is highlighted/underlined

Regional Overview

Tropical Storm Gloria continues to drift slowly westward through central and northern Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, northern Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.

In the past 24 hours, rain has continued to fall throughout Mozambique with the highest concentration in Maputo Province, which received more than 3 inches of rain. Beira has not received additional rain in the past 24 hours. Cloudy conditions and isolated showers are expected in Sofala, Inhambane, and Maputo provinces over the next two days. Heavy rainfall is expected in Maputo and surrounding areas.

A few isolated showers are present over South Africa. However, most of the central portion of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa continue to experience clear to partly cloudy skies.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has deployed an assessment team to southeastern Zambia to investigate reports of possible overflowing from Kariba Dam, which was opened 10 days ago.


Floodwaters: Heavy rains have been reported over the central and southern areas of the country during the last 48 hours. Maputo has experienced periods of torrential rain. Water levels along the Limpopo and Incomati rivers remain high. (However, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the water levels of the Save, Buzi, Pungoe, Gorongosa, Licungo and Umbeluzi rivers are dropping.) Flooding has been reported in the Zambezi Valley, particularly along the mouth of the Zambezi River. Rains and mudslides have reportedly limited road access to Matola and Machava.

Continued rains have reportedly hampered some of the air and boat assessment missions since March 9. The rains have particularly affected WFP airlift operations. Around 50 helicopters and planes are reportedly operating in southern Mozambique without radar, making good visibility essential.

Press reports also indicate that the rains have damaged telecommunication links in central and southern Mozambique.

OCHA reports that some displaced families have started to return home. Local authorities have warned these populations of health and flood risks.

Health: The most frequently reported diseases continue to be malaria, diarrhea (cholera), skin diseases and respiratory diseases. Despite the number of cholera cases reported in Maputo and Sofala provinces, no cholera outbreaks have been reported. Some accommodation centers in Gaza Province are reporting 100-500 malaria cases daily.

On March 9, the USAID/Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) Search and Rescue (SAR) team conducted assessment missions with medical staff from Médecins du Monde (MDM) in Buzi. MDM staff found no extraordinary incidence of malaria. However, the team did identify various skin diseases and major parasite problems possibly caused by contaminated water.

Also on March 9, the Government of Mozambique's (GRM) Ministry of Health (MOH) established an emergency coordination unit to improve information collection and analysis among health agencies. The MOH is conducting daily coordination meetings on health and has developed a monitoring system for populations in affected areas, including accommodation centers.

The MOH has adopted specific treatment and control strategies for malaria, meningitis, and measles in affected areas. The MOH is also installing surveillance centers for malaria and conducting rapid diagnostic tests. In addition, MOH is coordinating enumeration of damaged health infrastructure, equipment, and supplies, as well as affected MOH personnel. More than 5,000 kg of medicines were airlifted to affected sites from February 27 - March 4.

MOH is currently vaccinating people against measles and meningitis in affected zones. MOH also plans to chlorinate water in accommodation centers, as well as construct sanitation systems and establish education campaigns.

Food: According to OCHA, WFP has launched an appeal for $27 million to continue its operations in Mozambique, in addition to some $3 million to support continued helicopter operations by the South African National Defense Force. This appeal covers the food needs of an estimated 650,000 people for six months.

WFP is coordinating with the GRM's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that food distribution activities are being closely coordinated with seeds and tools distribution activities. WFP is also in the process of formalizing relationships with its NGO partners and signing letters of agreement.

The WFP has set up logistics centers in Maputo and Beira where helicopters are loading food to be distributed in the Limpopo and the Save river valleys. As river levels drop, WFP plans to shift from air to land transport of food.

WFP is pre-positioning food in the Zambezi/Chinde River delta area as a contingency against possible flooding in that area.

Non-Food: At present, USAID/Maputo estimates there are sufficient basic emergency non-food items in Mozambique to address the needs of 250,000 people in accommodation centers. However, distribution and transportation of these commodities has proven difficult. The non-food needs of up to 400,000 people not serviced through accommodation centers will be assessed soon.

Water/Sanitation: With technical support from USAID, rapid assessments are being conducted throughout flood-affected areas. German and Norwegian aid personnel are assisting in water and sanitation activities.

Current priorities include distribution of water and sanitation supplies to Xai Xai and Chokwe, expanding water distribution to isolated populations, and assessing needs in other areas. UNICEF is coordinating water and sanitation activities in Mozambique and plans to provide emergency sanitation systems in Xai Xai, some of which were provided by USAID.

Education: Schools in Maputo City have reportedly been evacuated or closed due to recent flooding. The GRM's Ministry of Education estimates that 16 schools (11%) in Maputo City sustained significant damage. An additional 106 schools (30%) in Maputo Province also sustained 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.

The GRM estimates 1.2 million people have been affected, of whom approximately 725,000 are considered vulnerable. Of the total figure, 650,000 people are currently housed in 74 camps, and about 400,000 IDPs remain outside of accommodation centers. (International organizations estimate 87 centers are currently operational.) An additional 335,000 people remain seriously affected.

According to the US Department of Defense (DOD) Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC), 100,000 people are located in 35 centers in Gaza province, while an additional 90,000 people are in 33 centers in Maputo Province.

The GRM has reported 150 deaths due to flooding but the death toll in Mozambique alone is expected to climb into the thousands once the floodwaters recede sufficiently for assessments.

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

On March 10, USAID officials, including members of the USAID/DART, hosted a roundtable with NGO partners. The officials presented the USG Phase II strategy framework for flood response and provided parameters for NGOs interested in submitting proposals for funding. There were more than 10 NGOs represented in the roundtable.

USAID officials continue to meet regularly with other donors to ensure coordination.

On March 9, SAR team members not involved in the boat operation assisted WFP to offload and deliver food commodities. WFP plans to provide food commodities to the SAR team for boat distributions. Each boat is capable of carrying 1,000 lbs. of corn in shallow water.

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). 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:

On March 10, three DOD helicopters arrived in Beira and commenced flying food assistance missions. Specially equipped C-130 aircraft are flying missions to assess damage of road and rail systems and to identify areas for repair.

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 actively engaged in optimizing cooperation between the numerous military and civilian aviation assets.

Local Response:

The GRM is coordinating a working group established to organize Mozambique's recovery and reconstruction program. The group consists of representatives from several GRM agencies, the European Union, the UN, and the World Bank, as well as officials from the US, Japanese, and South African governments. The GRM is urging donors to utilize local labor and resources whenever possible and to support the local economy.

International Response:

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

Teams from the World Bank have reportedly arrived to assess many hard-hit sectors. The World Bank has called for assistance in rehabilitation of roads in Mozambique. The cost of fully restoring Limpopo road is currently estimated at $50 million.


USAID/BHR is deploying a staff member to assist with the ongoing assessment of relief and reconstruction needs.

On March 8, the UN launched an interagency emergency appeal for $3.2 million to assist 96,000 people affected by flooding. The appeal will address needs in the following sectors: food, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, education, and coordination.

The UN has sent three additional assessment teams to Zimbabwe after their rapid assessment of the Manicaland Province, which indicated that more than 180,000 people were affected and almost 100 people have died as a result of the floods. The UN Disaster Management Team (DMT) reported that more than 1,380 homes were destroyed as well.

Private contributions to the flood disaster relief have reportedly topped $1.3 million.

Cyclone Leon-Eline hit the southeastern areas of Zimbabwe on February 22. 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 and appealed for $21.2 million on March 4. Midlands Province was also adversely affected. Damages to roads, bridges, dams, and public buildings were recorded in all four provinces.

According to estimates from GOZ officials and the international community, the population directly impacted by the floods is 250,000 - 300,000. The current death toll is approximately 80 people.

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.

To date, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 on March 1 through the U.S. Mission to support relief activities. The Organization of African Unity and the German government have also provided funds.


A USAID/BHR/OFDA Regional Advisor arrives in Madagascar today to assess the current situation. Additional funds may be required to assist victims of flooding in the northern part of Madagascar. However, accurate information regarding the extent of the damage in this area is not available yet.

On March 10, WFP reportedly began dispatching 25 tons of emergency food rations for about 30,000 thousands trapped by floodwaters in the coastal town of Mahanoro. WFP is expected to dispatch an additional 375 tons of food to areas in the northeast and western areas of the country.

On March 9, the U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar Shirley Barnes declared a disaster due to damage by torrential rains and winds from Tropical Cyclone Eline and Tropical Storm Gloria.

In response, USAID/OFDA expects to immediately provide $25,000 through the U.S. Embassy for the provision of safe drinking water to affected areas and to clear and rehabilitate important roads.

The US Government is working in close collaboration with the Government of Madagascar (GOM) to provide assistance.

On March 9, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture issued a special alert on the situation in Madagascar. Although a full assessment of crop losses and agriculture damage is not yet possible, the report suggests heavy winds have caused almost total crop losses in low-lying areas. This year's rice production is forecast to decline sharply. FAO expects to deploy an assessment team to Madagascar, as soon as conditions permit.

WFP has reportedly launched an airlift to isolated villages in the northern central area, initially flying in 4,000 tons of food commodities.

When the cyclones hit Madagascar, a cholera outbreak had reportedly resulted in 12,000 cases and 700 deaths. Flooding and poor sanitation have increased the spread of cholera. Potable water, sanitation, and medicine are therefore priority items for assistance.

Cyclone Leon-Eline severely hit the East Coast of Madagascar on February 17 and passed through the country approximately 80 km north of Antananarivo. On March 2, Tropical Storm Gloria crossed through a similar portion of Madagascar.

According to the GOM's National Disaster Unit (CNS) and the National Disaster Response Steering Committee (CRIC), the storms affected up to 700,000 people, including 10,000 homeless persons. An estimated 12,000 people have been cut off by flooding. (Note: The UN estimates that an estimated 560,000 persons are affected). The GOM has reported that an estimated 64 people have died as a result of the storms. Floodwaters and landslides have caused significant damage to main roads and bridges, seriously affecting movement of food and other commodities within the country.

Results of a survey conducted by the CNS indicate that the districts on the east coast between Vatomandry and Mahanoro suffered severe damage. About 90 percent of cash and food crops were destroyed, 65 percent of houses were destroyed, and 75 percent of health facilities suffered damage.

The CNS has reportedly provided 30 MT of rice, medicines, blankets, three zodiac boats, and shelter material in affected areas.

On March 8, the GOM declared a disaster and officially requested international assistance. Priority needs identified by the CNS include: water and sanitation, food aid, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, health centers, and schools.


According to the Government of Botswana's National Disaster Committee, the northeastern part of Botswana was worst affected area by flooding. The floods have affected an estimated 73,000 people and severely damaged secondary roads. Water and sanitation is a major concern due to contaminated water systems.

To date, USAID/BHR/OFDA has provided $25,000 through USAID/Gaborone for the procurement of emergency sanitation systems.

South Africa

Extensive flooding has severely affected the northeastern parts of South Africa and resulted in displacement of several small but isolated populations.

To date, USAID/BHR/OFDA has provided $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.

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
DOD/PKHA Transportation of relief commodities
DOD/PKHA Deployment of Presidential Atlas/Response Drawdown Authority
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 four consecutive days of torrential rains in early February 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 southern Africa region over the week of February 20-26, bringing additional heavy rains and wind to already-affected areas. More than 2.5 million people have been affected in the southern Africa region. The number of deaths in the region, now estimated at 200, is expected to increase once assessments are completed.

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 at ( 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.