Botswana + 3 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #14, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published

New information is underlined.

Regional Overview

On March 14, the US Air Force predicted cloudy skies over central Mozambique, with the possibility of thunderstorms. Continued rain and thunderstorms are forecasted for Beira, as well as Maputo.

Isolated thunderstorms are expected in Madagascar, but the storms are not predicted to produce significant additional amounts of rain.


Floodwaters: The water levels on the Save, Buzi, Limpopo, and Zambezi rivers continue to decrease slightly according to USAID/DART reporting. However, the Pungue river remains at a maximum alert level. One of the main roads near the Pungue will be at risk if the river floods. Rain is predicted in the central region of the country through March 15.

In the past 24 hours, the following rainfall/precipitation levels have been reported in:

Beira 60.5 mm

Quelimane 51.2 mm

Lichinga 19.6 mm

Vilanculos 106.5 mm

The Kariba dam continues to discharge at the rate of 5,500 cubic meters per second. However, this level may decrease within the next few days to 3,300 cubic meters per second. The Cabora Bassa dam is currently at 40% capacity.

Shelter: According to USAID/DART, there are an estimated 82 accommodation centers with a population of 315,422. In addition, humanitarian agencies are now tracking a new category of population groups, which are housed in isolated centers. There are an estimated 19 isolated centers with a population of 39,585.

The UN Development Program (UNDP), as the lead agency in the shelter sector, is in the process of coordinating with the Government of Mozambique (GRM), local officials, and various NGOs to develop a standard resettlement package for future returns. Options under consideration include cash grants, in-kind distributions, a voucher system, or a combination of all three. UNDP is working with shelter sector partners to have a draft proposal completed later this week.

USAID/Maputo reports that a Government of Mozambique (GRM)-donor coordination group is fielding three teams to assess the status of accommodation centers and other places where affected people are grouped but which have not yet been organized into centers. The teams will evaluate the humanitarian situation of affected populations and develop a common approach and program for resettlement activities.

According to USAID/Maputo, some accommodation centers in urban areas first affected by February 3-7 rains in Maputo City and Matola are transferring flood-affected families to resettlement areas.

Health: On March 13, aid agencies reported that diarrheal disease is increasing in Maputo city. Since the beginning of the year, the GRM Ministry of Health (MOH) has identified 402 cases. Of these, 88 cases have been randomly selected for lab testing. Out of these 88, 13 tested positive for cholera. However, none of the cases were internally displaced persons (IDPs) from accommodation centers. The MOH noted that these figures are in line with normal statistics for Maputo. The MOH has requested more support from NGOs in the Matola area due to the threat of cholera.

Water/Sanitation: The flow of information among agencies working in the water/sanitation sector, particularly with regard to assessment information, remains poor. The GRM has asked agencies to channel information through the GRM’s National Disaster Management Institute (INGC).

Food and Agriculture: The GRM Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Emergency Group has prepared a district-by-district inventory of NGOs actively or potentially involved in the agricultural response.

The GRM reportedly has 50,000 MT of maize stocks in Mozambique. Total projected maize stocks from April - September are estimated at 2,694,000 MT.

The mission also reports that the national seed company, SEMOC, has 475 MT of maize, 95 MT of beans, and an undetermined amount of vegetable stocks available. NGOs have started to purchase seeds.

According to USAID/Maputo, the current strategy is to provide relief food to flood affected people until the floodwaters recede and affected populations are repatriated. General distributions are expected to phase out by June.

The NGO Concern Worldwide conducted a rapid assessment in Chokwe district on March 11, along with district officials. Concern visited Bombofo, Manjangue, Chinahacanine, and 25 September IDP sites. Approximately 20,000 people area being accommodated in these sites, including 13,000 persons in Bombofo and Chinahacanine. Needs identified by flood-affected groups were food, medicines, tents, cooking equipment, and clothes. Access to most of the sites from Chokwe is possible by foot or tractor. Illnesses reported were diarrhea, malaria, acute respiratory infections, and conjunctivitis. Water supply is adequate but sanitation services appear to be minimal.

During Concern’s visit, no relief agencies were present in Bombofo, although MSF delivered medicines the day before the assessment. Concern reports that food deliveries are a priority in Bombofo and has provided the UN World Food Program (WFP) with exact coordinates of sites visited.

On March 13, Save the Children (SCF)/UK reported that food distribution in Xai Xai and Chibuto is a problem. According to SCF/US, people in the accommodation center population are receiving only one meal per day. One problem is that people distributing the food reportedly do not know where the centers are located, and leave food at points where they may not reach intended beneficiaries. SCF/UK has suggested that agencies include local presence on every distribution point.

There are unconfirmed reports that emergency aid is not reaching isolated villagers in Mozambique. The reports claim that there are 7,000 residents in Canicado, 15,000 residents in Jovanhane, and 4,000 residents in Chinhacane who are not receiving much needed aid.

WFP reports that it has provided 7,600 MT of food (one-month supply) to 365,000 displaced persons located in 100 accommodation centers.

Transport/logistics: According to USAID/DART, the runway at the airport in Chibuto has suffered extensive damage due to flooding and increased traffic from humanitarian operations. The Mozambican aviation authorities have declared an estimated 300 meters of the runway unsafe. Consequently, the airport will no longer allow landing permission for C-130s and C-160s.

Associated Press reports that road crews have repaired a flood-damaged road along the Limpopo River, enabling trucks to deliver food and relief supplies to Chiacalane, 120 miles north of Maputo. An estimated 60,000 people are reportedly displaced in accommodation centers in Chiacalane.

Affected Numbers: The GRM estimates 1.2 million people have been affected by flooding. Of the total figure, 328,000 people are currently housed in camps, and about 400,000 IDPs remain outside of accommodation centers. (The USAID/OFDA Fact Sheet #13, dated March 13, mistakenly reported that 650,000 people were accommodated in camps.) An additional 335,000 people remain seriously affected. (An additional 900,000 people are also indirectly affected.)

The southern provinces of Gaza and Inhambane provinces, along the Save and Limpopo rivers, were severely affected by the floods, the country’s worst on record. According to the GRM, one third (27%) of the country's staple crop, maize, has been destroyed, along with 40,000 head of cattle and 141 schools. According to aid agencies, the death toll, currently near 500, is expected to rise after the waters recede.

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

To date, USAID has provided close to $12.9 million in response to the flooding crisis in southern Africa.

This assistance includes funding to deploy six additional health and water/sanitation experts to the region.

On March 12, USAID-funded AIRSERV continued conducting relief operations throughout Mozambique. AIRSERV transported 406 passengers, 10 evacuees, and rescued 30 people from trees. In addition, AIRSERV transported 183,247 kg of food and non-food relief items.

On March 13, the US Coast Guard (USCG) component of the USAID/DART reported that two of its members were assigned to the UN-Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC) on March 12. The team is in the process of determining phase-down activities.

On March 11, USAID/OFDA-purchased UN World Health Organization (WHO) medical kits capable of treating 30,000 people for 30 days arrived in Mozambique. The value of this assistance is estimated at $31,000.

USAID/OFDA is coordinating a USG interagency working group for hydrological prediction and mapping in Washington, DC. The group is working on a coordinated effort to produce imagery and mapping, as well as river forecast, to assist the humanitarian effort in southern Africa. Information produced by this group can be found online on a USAID/OFDA-supported US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website at:

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.

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

On March 14, a representative from the JLOC reported that the GRM denial of permission for C-160 landings would have a serious impact on humanitarian operations because current air operations deliver 50 MT of aid using C-160 aircraft through Chibuto airport. In an effort to clarify the situation, on March 14, the JLOC assessed the extent of damage to the runway and determined that the damage to the runway was not as extensive as previously reported and could be repaired. In addition, the team determined that the damage was mainly at the end of the runway. The INGC has requested that the JLOC coordinate with the GRM to resolve this situation.

As of March 13, the USCG team has facilitated the transfer of over 270 MT of relief supplies and transported approximately 100 high priority passengers.

On March 12, DOD-chartered flights delivered an estimated 40 MT of WFP high-energy biscuits from Pisa, Italy. The cost of transporting the biscuits, which are already being distributed, is $250,000.

The US Air Force is flying photo surveillance missions to map the status of lines of communication, primarily roads.

Local Response:

According to USAID/DART, the Mozambican military is contributing one helicopter, based in Maputo, to the relief effort.

The GRM National Water Authority (NWA) continues to restore water services in Chokwe. The NWA is undertaking assessments in other affected towns, specifically Save and Chibuto.

The NWA is also sending a hydrologist to assist in locations where there are breaks in the road. The hydrologist will assist with the design and placement of culverts.

International Response:

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

WFP has received $12.1 million cash or in-kind since the flooding began. To date, WFP has received pledges for 25% of their second emergency operation for $27 million.

Nine World Bank teams are reportedly preparing damage assessments and recovery/reconstruction programs in various sectors including macroeconomics, energy/telecommunications, agriculture, health, education, and shelter.

On March 14, heads of state from South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, and Mozambique opened an emergency summit of the 14-member Southern African Development Community on regional reconstruction. The summit will focus on the flood disaster in Southern Africa.

Malawi is reportedly contributing two helicopters based in Beira, and a Dutch C-130 recently joined the multinational force in Mozambique. These air assets are being used to transport relief agency personnel, as well as transporting emergency relief commodities.


According to the Zimbabwe Red Cross, the most serious concern is risk of a disease outbreak in the affected areas. Cases of malaria and diarrhea have been reported in Malipati, Sengwe, and other parts of Chiredzi District.

On March 13, the Government of Japan announced that it would provide $209,000 in relief supplies, including tents, blankets, and plastic sheeting.

Germany has contributed $123,454 through the German Red Cross and an additional $176,134 for the repair of roofs, procurement of medicines, and logistical support.

According to the latest UN and Government of Zimbabawe (GOZ) estimates, 100 people have died from the floods in Zimbabawe and 96,000 people have been directly affected. Among the affected are 20,000 IDPs who are temporarily sheltered in camps and available local facilities. As many as 500,000 are indirectly affected.

The flooding has directly affected the provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matebeleland South, and Midlands, located in southern and eastern Zimbabawe.

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 (e.g. food, water, shelter, healthcare) to displaced persons. Extensive damage to crops and infrastructure were reported in all four provinces. A majority of the populations in affected areas is predominantly subsistence farmers.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided $25,000 through the U.S. Mission to support relief activities.


According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), the number of people affected by both cyclones and in immediate need of assistance is around 24,500. This figure does not include the total affected population in areas cut off by floodwater.

OCHA reports that helicopters from a French warship arrived on March 13 and will soon deliver WFP commodities to cut off zones in Sambava, Andapa, and Maroantstetra. OCHA also reports that, according to UNDP estimates, additional transportation capacity (e.g. helicopters, trucks and boats) will be required for the distribution of relief goods during the next two months.

On March 10, USAID/Antananarivo reported the Cyclone Eline and/or Tropical Depression Gloria affected up to 561,447 people. This estimate is reportedly based on recent surveys conducted by the GOM’s National Disaster Unit (CNS) and includes 10,000 homeless and 12,000 isolated persons. (On March 12, the USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor reported that this figure has been revised downwards to 400,000. Recent press reports also suggest that 212 people have died as a result of the storms.)

However, according to USAID/Antananarivo, official estimates on the extent of the damage from Tropical Depression Gloria are not yet available. Two overflights have been launched with field staff on the ground to sites affected by Gloria and not covered during the overflights following Cyclone Eline.

According to preliminary findings from surveys conducted by the CNS, an estimated 100-km of 11 primary highways and roads are reportedly damaged from floodwaters and landslides. It is also reported that seven major bridges have been destroyed in the country.

Preliminary results of the CNS survey indicate that 71% of water supplies in several towns on the east coast and in south central Madagascar were damaged and/or contaminated.

The CNS has reportedly appealed for $7 million for immediate emergency relief for individuals affected by Cyclone Eline. The appeal covers needs in the areas of food aid, shelter, health, and agriculture.

According to USAID/Antananarivo, suspected and verified cholera cases continue to be reported in the provinces of Majunga, Antanananarivo, Diego, and Tulear. As of March 3, the number of cumulative cholera cases is 21,146 and 1,226 cumulative deaths have been reported.

The UN WHO estimates the mortality rate among confirmed cases to be six percent and may declare the cholera outbreak in Madagascar to be of epidemic proportions.

USAID/Antananarivo, through US PVOs and other partners, is continuing to use resources from existing funds to contribute to the preventive side of the GOM’s anti-cholera efforts. Since March 1999, USAID has provided $800,000 for cholera prevention activities and has leveraged another $300,000 - 400,000 from other organizations.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided $25,000 to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the provision of safe drinking water to affected areas and to clear and rehabilitate important roads. Further USAID/OFDA funding will be based on the recommendations of USAID/Antanananarivo and a USAID/BHR OFDA Regional Advisor currently in Madagascar.

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. The GOM has also reported that some 200 people have died as a result of the storms.


A USAID/OFDA field officer and water/sanitation specialist are in Botswana to assist with a flood assessment and response efforts, in collaboration with USAID/Gaborone. The two-person team has began assessments in areas most affected by the floods.

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

To date, USAID/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/OFDA has provided $25,000 through USAID/Pretoria to the South African Red Cross for the supply of relief items to 3,000 displaced persons in the Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces.

Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)

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 through 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 (through WFP)
USAID/OFDA Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits
USAID/OFDA Additional support for emergency relief operation
USAID/FFP Emergency food relief
DOD* Transportation and provision of relief commodities
Zimbabwe USAID/OFDA Grant to Zimbabwe Red Cross for emergency supplies
Madagascar USAID/OFDA Grant to CRS to assist flooded areas
Botswana USAID/OFDA Procurement of emergency sanitation systems
South Africa USAID/OFDA Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency supplies
*Total DOD
*Note: A Presidential Drawdown Authority of up to $37.6 million has been authorized.

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. About 2 million people have been affected in the southern Africa region due to the flooding. (Note: The number of people affected in Mozambique and Madagascar was revised downwards recently.) The number of deaths in the region, now estimated at 800, 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 ( 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.