Botswana + 4 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #20, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
Regional Overview

The forecast for Maputo, Inhambane and Gaza provinces predicts good weather for March 25-28; scattered showers in Sofala, Tete, Manica, and Zambezia provinces, and possible showers in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, and Nampula provinces.

As of March 24, water levels in the Incomati, Save, Zambezi, Umbeluzi, and Maputo river basins have decreased, while water levels in the Limpopo and Pungue river basins have increased. However, the rise of the Limpopo river was not as much as had been feared; it is expected to peak on March 24 and then subside.

In Madagascar, cloudy conditions persist, with showers and thunderstorms expected off the coast.


Floodwaters: According to the Government of Mozambique (GRM), flooding continues to be forecast for the surrounding areas of Chokwe. The GRM has urged people to evacuate the areas, but an estimated 10,000 Chokwe residents have returned anyway.

Health: According to USAID/DART, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are reportedly preparing for possible outbreaks of cholera and malaria in Mozambique. 224 cases of cholera, including two deaths (both in Beira), were reported nationwide during the last 48 hours. However, comparable numbers of cholera cases in previous years are not yet available, since cholera is endemic in Mozambique. The GRM's Ministry of Health (MOH) informed the USAID/DART on March 20 that the number of cases of cholera and malaria in Maputo city has been lower than expected so far. Overall, the World Health Organization has warned that 800,000 people in the Southern African region are at risk of cholera and malaria because of the floods.

On March 22, USAID/DART staff visited special treatment centers for diarrheal disease that have been set up at two major hospitals in Maputo. The centers were created to isolate possible cholera cases. From March 2-18, 400 cases have been treated in Jose Macamo hospital, of which 15 were confirmed as cholera. Most cases were common diarrheal disease. The center at Mavalane hospital has received 40-50 cases daily since it was opened on March 18. However, during the preceding 24 hours (March 21-22), 142 new cases had been admitted. None of these cases have been confirmed as cholera yet. Both centers have an urgent need for additional staff, especially nurses. They also lack adequate medical equipment/supplies, syringes and needles, antibiotics, and other supplies. USAID/DART is working with Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF)/Switzerland, which assisted in setting up the centers, to address these needs.

The MOH has informed the USAID/DART health team that a vaccination campaign initiated last week in accommodation centers and isolated settlements is now nearly complete. In collaboration with UNICEF and NGOs, the campaign targets children between nine and 59 months for measles, pregnant women for tetanus, and the entire population of the target areas for meningitis. The ministry reported that routine vaccinations are being conducted in health facilities that still have functioning cold chain equipment. Prior to the floods, an estimated 30% of vaccination centers were experiencing service delivery problems.

The MOH has identified lack of information caused by limited access as one of the main constraints to improved medical response and disease monitoring in the context of the flood emergency. Similarly, a shortage of vehicles and functioning communications systems has also been problematic. UNICEF expects to provide vehicles and radios to help address this problem. The MOH has also reported poor coordination among health agencies as a major problem.

The USAID/DART health team reported that the MOH has appealed for at least 90 additional health staff. To date, approximately 19 health workers from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome have arrived. In addition, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed willingness to fund some health staff. Additional support has been requested from NGOs to temporarily increase staffing. An effort also is underway to identify and mobilize retired nurses to help.

A recent MOH assessment in Chokwe revealed evidence of psychological trauma amongst both adults and children. As a result, the MOH has asked NGOs to consider adding mental health, as well as HIV/AIDS interventions, to ongoing disaster response programs.

On March 21, the USAID/DART health team met with UNICEF to discuss UNICEF's role, strategy, and objectives, as well as outstanding requirements. UNICEF activities target large population groups with a specific focus on children. UNICEF is currently focusing on the cities of Matola and Maputo and the provinces of Maputo and Gaza and is working to stabilize existing health services for affected populations and provide essential drugs for cholera and malaria. UNICEF also plans to deploy available health staff to Gaza and Maputo, support flood-affected health workers, and provide equipment for maternal and child health care. In addition, UNICEF is providing supplies for the rapid cleanup of affected health facilities, and tents for temporary clinics. UNICEF is also fixing water and sanitation systems for health facilities.

According to UNICEF, there are several areas where additional response attention may be required in Mozambique. These include: the MOH/UN emergency malaria control strategy; malnutrition, especially in Gaza province; still-inaccessible populations north of the Limpopo river in Gaza; and the need to get children back to school (where they can be immunized, given nutritional support, and monitored). USAID staff are discussing ways to address these issues and will continue to ensure that all incoming proposals are coordinated with other ongoing activities.

USAID/Maputo's rapid assessments of accommodation centers continue, with four centers in Manhica district and the town of Moamba Sede visited on March 20. Assessments in these areas revealed that cases of acute diarrheal disease and malaria are occurring daily. At Moamba Sede, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are reportedly drinking contaminated water due to the destruction of the water treatment station.

According to USAID/Maputo, on March 22, the World Health Organization disseminated the report of a March 8-16 assessment of disaster-affected districts in Sofala province. The team reported continued problems with information flow among health NGOs, particularly with regard to assessments, in these areas. Additionally, very few epidemiological data was being reported from them due to communications difficulties.

According to OCHA's IRIN, UNICEF has identified new concerns about the plight of children separated from their parents in Mozambique. UNICEF estimates that 30 - 40% of children in parts of Inhambane province have been separated from their parents. UNICEF is working with the GRM in registering all unaccompanied children. IRIN reported that 58 out of 110 unaccompanied children in the Chiacalane accommodation center have been reunited with their families.

UNICEF is also providing support for hygiene education campaigns and communication awareness initiatives to prevent further outbreaks of water-borne diseases. It said it had begun distributing hygiene packs to 50,000 families in Chibuto and Macia.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, estimates that 15,300 displaced women are pregnant and that 4,600 of these women are expected to deliver within the next three months and require special medical attention to ensure safe delivery.

Water and Sanitation: USAID/DART and USAID/Maputo water/sanitation specialists participated in a meeting between the GRM's National Water Authority (DNA) and donors on March 23. During the meeting, the World Bank reported that it is supporting the national water project (PDNA), which is already carrying out urban water/sanitation rehabilitation in Maputo and Matola, as well as flood prevention activities. The World Bank, in cooperation with the DNA, has revised upwards from $16 million to $19 million its estimated cost of responding to emergency needs in the water sector.

However, USAID/DART water/sanitation specialists calculate that a more narrow water sector recovery program, covering emergency well rehabilitation, basic piped water system repair, and emergency latrines, will cost $10 million.

Shelter: The World Health Organization reported that of the 58,893 people identified in nine (of 20) localities in the affected areas, 21% are living in their damaged homes, while 79% are sheltering in schools, churches, and on the verandas of shops and health posts. Out of the 20 localities, only Machanga city reported adequate access to potable water. Sanitation is poor throughout the area visited. Food access was sufficient in Machanga Sede, but insufficient in 13 localities.

According to IRIN, UNICEF has reported that 30,000 flood victims are accommodated in 12 shelters in Maputo province, while in Maputo about 4,000 IDPs have sought shelter in four schools and a factory. The largest accommodation center is in Chiacalane, about 160 km northeast of the capital in the Gaza province, where an estimated 57,000 people are accommodated.

The UN Development Program (UNDP) reported that a planned appeal for immediate resettlement construction packages will be approximately $15.5 million, with an estimated cost of $200 per household assisted.

Food and Agriculture: According to the GRM's National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), a food riot occurred in Chiacalane on March 23 and reportedly resulted in the deaths of five people. Ten peopled were reportedly injured. According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), the riot occurred when a Brazilian church organization tried to distribute food from a moving truck without coordinating with local authorities. WFP reported that a large crowd began following the truck, and the deaths resulted from people falling under the truck's wheels.

UNICEF reported it is preparing to support rehabilitation efforts in agriculture by providing seeds, basic farming tools, equipment, as well as emergency veterinary assistance for surviving cattle. According to UNICEF, efforts to reconstruct and repair destroyed and damaged school buildings are underway. UNICEF and WFP are currently providing more than 129 MT of high-protein biscuits to children and adults and expect to establish therapeutic feeding centers in various centers soon.

According to UNICEF, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is now compiling data from a survey, conducted in conjunction with MSF, of affected rural families and crop losses. Additional information is being collected to assess the effect of the floods on the commercial agriculture sector and rural trading networks. MARD currently estimates that 134,250 families have lost approximately 141,400 hectares of crops. In addition, the authorities estimate that more than 50,000 head of cattle have died.

Since February 11, WFP has delivered 3,951 MT of food commodities throughout Mozambique. From March 22-23, WFP delivered 350 MT of food, primarily by air, to Gaza Province (205 MT), Sofala (99 MT), Maputo (44 MT), and Manica (three MT).

Transport/Logistics: On March 21, USAID staff conducted a flood damage assessment of two main roads that were rehabilitated with funding by USAID/Maputo. The roads are located in the Zambezi river valley, between Caia and Sena (Sofala province) and between Mutarara and Vila Nova da Fronteira (Tete province). The assessment revealed that both roads are in good condition. However, USAID staff observed ruts, small potholes, erosion of the road shoulder and washouts around some culverts. Immediate emergency repairs are ongoing, and USAID is working with the Mozambican Roads Authority (ANE) to provide urgent maintenance attention to these roads before further degradation occurs.

According to IRIN, UNICEF reported some important roads in Mozambique have been reportedly re-opened and aid was now being distributed by road. Many main roads in rural areas remain submerged in floodwaters.

The GRM's Ministry of Public Works reported that the road to Buzi has been repaired and that the Beira-Save road is under repair. Roads in the southern Sofala and northern Inhambane areas reportedly will be repaired in the next 10-14 days, if no further flooding occurs.

Affected Numbers: On March 17, the INGC disseminated updated numbers on the disaster-affected population in Mozambique. 2,036,840 people are affected, with severe economic difficulties. Of this total, 1,029,999 require food aid (free distribution or food-for-work) and/or medical help. 639,475 of these are in need of free food rations, including IDPs and isolated populations that lost subsistence crops. 457,578 are now resident in 117 IDP accommodation centers and 16 isolated settlements. 640 deaths have been officially recorded.

According to the USAID/DART field officer in Beira, local officials have reduced the IDP count from 5,000 to 1,100 in Chissinguana, south of Estaquinha.

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

On March 23, USAID/OFDA provided a second grant to AirServ for additional air and transport support for relief operations. The value of this grant is $2 million. In addition, USAID/OFDA responded to WFP's appeal for transport/relief operations support with a $1 million grant on March 23. (WFP recently issued an appeal for $8.5 million to support a fleet of fixed-wing and helicopter assets operating out of Maputo and Beira for at least one month.) These funds will enable WFP and AirServ to augment existing transport services out of Maputo and Beira in anticipation of a military phase out of air transport assets.

In late February, USAID/OFDA provided $450,000 to WFP for the provision and transport of relief commodities and air transport for assessment missions. USAID/OFDA also gave $1 million to AirServ in late February to fund the operation of eight fixed-wing aircraft, two helicopters, and 20 boats out of Maputo and Beira for rescue operations and transport of relief items/personnel. The areas served by the WFP and AirServ aircraft are among the worst flood-affected regions of Mozambique.

On March 23, USAID/OFDA provided an additional $351,216 to World Vision to support a seeds and tools and water/sanitation program targeting 10,000 people in the flood-hit province of Sofala located in central Mozambique. The program will assist the return of the flood-affected farming population to their original homes and farms and will provide the seeds and tools to enable at least some agricultural production this winter season. World Vision will work closely with other agencies operating in Mozambique to provide food and support to those who have been worst affected.

USAID/OFDA Director H. Roy Williams and the USAID/DART leader and program officer traveled to Beira on March 22. Director Williams and the USAID/DART program officer met with INGC representatives and local officials in Beira. Local officials in Sofala province reported that the relief priorities for the Beira area are proper enumeration of affected people and obtaining necessary food, medicine and additional trained health workers. The governor also cited concerns about the resettlement of those displaced by flooding whose home areas are now uninhabitable.

The team attended a health sector meeting where the GRM reported an increase in malaria cases in Machanga district. The team also conducted aerial assessments of the Buzi river basin and observed the floodwaters there appeared to be extremely high.

According to USAID/FFP, a vessel set sail from the U.S. on March 21 carrying 4,100 metric tons (MT) of PL 480 Title II food commodities in support of the WFP emergency program in Mozambique. The vessel is expected to arrive on April 17. The cargoes, consisting of 2,000 MT of rice, 1,000 MT of beans, 600 MT of vegetable oil and 500 MT of dried peas, originated from USAID/FFP pre-positioned stocks in Louisiana.

Since the onset of the disaster, USAID has provided $17.3 million in response to the flood crisis in southern Africa. USAID/FFP has provided $7 million for Title II food aid in Mozambique, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. USAID/OFDA has provided $8.5 million for search and rescue support, procurement and transport of relief commodities, and other emergency response activities in the region. In addition, USAID/Maputo has provided $1.8 million for water/sanitation and rehabilitation programs in Mozambique. (Note: Please refer to attached table for further details on USG regional response to the flood crisis.)

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Response

The DOD reported that improvements in road and rail systems have led to a marked decrease in the need for U.S. air assets. As a result, U.S. personnel and their specialized military equipment are expected to begin returning to their home bases in Europe next week. The re-deployment of the U.S. military forces will be accomplished in phases but will not phase out completely until additional civilian helicopters have been contracted. WFP expects to need 13 rotary-wing and five fixed-wing aircraft to continue relief operations at current capacity.

The U.S. Joint Task Force Atlas Response (JTF-AR) will continue to assist in the relief effort. U.S. civilian assets, provided by USAID/OFDA, will also remain in Mozambique. This includes 13 aircraft chartered through USAID/OFDA grants to AirServ and WFP.

JTF is also finalizing funding plans for a greatly expanded air support capability until the emergency road repairs are completed. JTF-AR C-130 flights currently are delivering seeds from Beira to Maputo to be distributed to farmers in Gaza province under a USAID/OFDA grant to World Relief.

Since March 6, the JTF-AR has made a significant contribution to the multinational relief effort in Mozambique. The American military has been fully integrated into the multinational relief effort, transporting more than one million pounds of humanitarian relief cargo and moving approximately 500 passengers, mainly aid workers and assessment team members.

Local Response

On March 22, the GRM officially launched a revised joint GRM/UN Consolidated appeal, an update of the February 24 appeal. The updated appeal is based on the expectation that some level of humanitarian assistance in Mozambique will be needed through August 2000. The appeal seeks approximately $102 million to assist 650,000 flood victims in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, and Manica. The updated appeal reflects the additional impact of the two cyclones that struck the region shortly after the initial appeal.

The GRM has recommended the transition from military resources to civilian means for the continued delivery of humanitarian supplies to flood-damaged areas of Mozambique.

The GRM's ANE is conducting emergency repairs in the Save, Chokwe, Moamba, Magude, and Boane areas. The administration expects emergency road repairs to be completed within four weeks.

International Response

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

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a total of $118 million in disaster response to date. (Not all of these contributions were made directly against needs identified in the February appeal.) USAID/DART will follow up and provide clarification on appeal responses, as more information becomes available. Sectors targeted include food assistance, emergency transportation, and infrastructure/power lines, as well as health and nutrition and water and sanitation.

OCHA confirmed March 23 that four OCHA staff will be deployed in Mozambique, including a new senior OCHA official and two OCHA mapping experts.

The Swedish government has committed about $2.3 million and may provide an additional $3.4 million in the future.

The Spanish government has reportedly provided $9.4 million in emergency humanitarian assistance, including the cost of two military hospitals, an airforce field hospital, and provision of relief supplies and helicopter.

The Government of Ireland has pledged $500,000 in emergency assistance through Irish NGOs and international NGOs. Total Irish government funding to date in response to the disaster in Mozambique is approximately $3 million.


Due to continued rains in the southern part of the country, the UN is reportedly updating its March 8 appeal for Zimbabwe. The new appeal will likely include a request for $3.3 million for food, health, water/sanitation, refugee support, education, and coordination programs. This amount will be in addition to the $21.2 million requested in the March 8 appeal.


On March 23, USAID/OFDA responded to a WFP special appeal for emergency transport operations in Madagascar with a $400,050 grant. According to WFP, the immediate emergency operation is 30 days in duration, to be followed by a four to six month operation. The main objective of the WFP operation is to provide immediate supply of food and non-food items throughout all of the island.

According to WFP, approximately 132,592 people have been displaced, isolated and/or in need of immediate assistance due to flood waters and cyclone damage in Madagascar. Immediate logistical support is required to deliver emergency food and non-food assistance to at least 129,000 people.

A USAID/DART field officer arrived in Madagascar on March 23 to replace an outgoing USAID/OFDA regional advisor, who will depart on March 28. USAID/DART field officers are reviewing proposals and holding meetings with implementing partners. A USAID/DART water/sanitation specialist is still conducting assessments with staff from Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

The CNS health subcommittee reported that it is revising the distribution plan for medical supplies and dispatching of health kits based on the revised figures. The water/sanitation commission discussed a plan for safe use of chloride solutions. The recent surveys confirmed the outbreak of bloody diarrhea in the east and southeast and noted a potential measles epidemic in the northeast.

On March 21, the U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar Shirley Barnes traveled with representatives of the UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank to the north - northeast. On-the-ground inspections at Sambava, Maroantsetra were made as well as fly-overs of Tamatave and surrounding areas. The groups' visit indicates that there are no apparent immediate life-threatening situations. However, airlift support for food distribution and provision of medical and clean water supplies are necessary and medium-to-long term crop restoration and rehabilitation of transportation infrastructures are essential.

USAID is arranging for a U.S. military liaison officer to travel to the south central city of Fianarantsoa and to the east coast port of Manakara. The overflight and visit is tentatively planned for March 25 or 26. The military liaison officer is revising options to support longer-term relief efforts.

Preliminary reports from field trips conducted by the USAID/FFP field officer from March 21-22 along the Antananarivo-Tamatave corridor suggest that most of the low valley areas in that region experienced only minimal crop damage. However, the Oramanga/Anosibe An'alah region, located in the central-east of the country suffered approximately 50% crop losses, and the price of rice on the local market there has nearly doubled. Other areas of the country, especially the east and southeast, are also reported to have suffered significant agricultural damage.

The field officer's trip to several northeastern areas also supports previous findings that an emergency situation no longer exists. However, medium and long-term agricultural, health and rebuilding of infrastructure are absolutely essential. The field visit confirmed numerous landslides on the roads in the Oramanga/Anosibe An'alah region.

According to the USAID/FFP officer, the CNS continues to revise figures of populations in need of food and supplies, and isolated populations based on new incoming data from surveys conducted in the southeast. Discussions with representatives of CRS have indicated that crop damage in the east and southeast is more severe.

According to CNS' new data, the number of people in need of immediate food and relief supplies is now 184,831 and the number of displaced persons is 22,158.

In a joint effort by MSF, WFP, and CNS, six trucks of supplies arrived in Mahanoro with food and supplies for immediate distribution. WFP has reported that it has chosen the east coast town of Mahanoro as its primary base of operations for logistics.

WFP is reportedly using a French aircraft to deliver food aid in the Vatomandry area, and a French helicopter is used to find pockets of isolated populations in need of aid. WFP's Buffalo aircraft was deployed in Madagascar for a week before returning to Mozambique at the weekend. The French military relief operation ended March 22.

According to IRIN, WFP has delivered 187 MT of food by the weekend, which included rice, pulses and sugar. It said of this total, 152 MT was transported by air to the northeast, southeast and the east of the country, while 35 MT was moved by road to the east of the flood-damaged island.


The Government of Botswana (GOB) reported that the majority of damage occurred in heavily populated areas in the eastern half the country, where a majority of the country's 1.5 million people live. The most affected populations are poor people living in areas not designated for housing, such as squatter areas.

The GOB reported that 17,000 houses were damaged or destroyed from rains and floodwaters in Botswana. Recent reports also indicate that 400 homes were damaged in the northeast and that some 1,300 people are homeless in areas around the western town of Ghanzi.

The GOB is in the process of revising upwards its appeal for assistance, which was issued on February 27. New planning figures indicate that 94,000 persons have been affected by the flooding, of which 80,000 are in need of urgent relief assistance.

South Africa

According to USAID/Pretoria, floods have resulted in the death of approximately 100 people in South Africa, several hundred injuries, the collapse of numerous homes, damage to electricity and water supply infrastructure, and huge losses in commercial and subsistence agriculture. Significant sums of money will be required to restore economic infrastructure, schools, and other public facilities to their original condition.

Four of South Africa's nine provinces (Mpumalanga, the Northern province, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Gauteng) were hard hit. The combined population of these areas is approximately 1.5 million. While the majority of flood damage occurred in Mpumalanga and Northern provinces, in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng provinces, hundreds of the poor and unemployed, many living in informal (squatter) settlements, were left homeless as a result of the flooding.

Flood damage from the torrential rains is concentrated in the Northern province in areas north of Pietersburg and south of the Zimbabwean border. The area to the east along the border with Mozambique also sustained considerable damage to roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

While the most obvious destruction in the Northern province was to transportation infrastructure, many houses also collapsed, especially in the Thohoyandou area, leaving hundreds of people homeless. An estimated 120,000 families in the Northern province are short of food as a result of damage to transportation infrastructure and loss of food supplies, crops, and livestock.

In the Northern province, damage is extensive to irrigation infrastructure, livestock, dams, spillways, production equipment, and crops.