Botswana + 4 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #21, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Regional Overview

The South African Weather Bureau predicts that Mozambique will receive rainfall of 50 - 100% above normal levels during the next 4 weeks. (Beira normally receives 10 inches of rain in March.)

As of March 27, nearly 4 million people have been affected in the southern Africa region due to the flooding. The number of deaths in the region is now estimated at 1,000.


Floodwaters: On March 26, the USAID/DART deputy team leader, accompanied by USAID/DART water/sanitation and health specialists, performed an aerial assessment of the Incomati and Limpopo river basins via a USAID/OFDA-funded AirServ helicopter. The team visited several different sites, including Chokwe and Chibuto. Chokwe remains sparsely populated, and the Government of Mozambique (GRM) is reportedly not allowing people to return from accommodation centers.

Health: On March 24, USAID/DART health specialist in Beira met with Cuamm, an Italian NGO working with the GRM’s Ministry of Health (MOH). Cuamm reported that cholera reports have been more numerous from Beira than from outlying flood-affected areas in Sofala province, located in central Mozambique. To date, there also have been no confirmed cholera cases from these areas. However, cases of acute diarrhea have been reported. Medecins du Monde (MDM) is conducting rapid medical surveys in some of these areas and will provide findings soon.

During a March 24 health sector meeting in Beira, MDM reported on a visit to a flood-stricken settlement called Beiapeia. Many water wells in the settlement have yet to be chlorinated, and MDM reported cases of bloody diarrhea. The area can only be reached by helicopter, but road access may soon become available as waters continue to recede. MDM plans to use a boat to travel up the Save river from Machanga to provide health services and monitor the health situation in isolated areas such as Beiapeia.

MDM, along with a local NGO, is working to detect any disease outbreaks and is making temporary structural repairs to health centers. To date, few samples tested have been positive, but MDM has not detected any outbreaks. At this time, MDM’s major need is for transport to remote areas, but it views reconstruction of health facilities as a priority.

According to the MOH, an estimated 60% of outpatient visits and 40% of inpatient admissions at MOH facilities are due to malaria. The majority of cases are in children under five years of age, with complications being severe anemia and cerebral malaria. Malaria is normally endemic in Mozambique, and peak transmission is normally between March and May.

On March 24, the MOH provided new information on the malaria situation and outlook in Mozambique.

2000 (to date)
Maputo city
Maputo province
Gaza province
Inhambane province
Manica province
no data
Sofala province
no data

In 1999, more than 2.2 million malaria cases, with 1,464 deaths, were reported in Mozambique. These totals are estimated to represent only 60% of actual cases (not all cases are diagnosed or reported due to poor access to treatment facilities and poor communications).

Efforts are underway to begin mosquito control activities in Maputo and Gaza provinces and in Sofala province. The MOH has solicited immediate donor and NGO support for these urgent malaria control measures in disaster-affected zones. USAID/DART and the mission are working with the MOH and other donors to determine appropriate USAID response to the MOH request.

There are no reports on malaria surveillance from most affected provinces since early January, due to the collapse of health infrastructure and communications in the affected zones. Surveillance reports through week eight of this year (about the end of February) are available only from Maputo city and Maputo province. Complete sentinel surveillance sites are being set up in Gaza province, and efforts are underway to improve surveillance and communication in other affected areas.

On March 24, USAID/DART health team met with Save the Children Fund (SCF)/US representatives to discuss the USAID/OFDA-funded project, which started on March 1. The project involves an information campaign on cholera prevention and the training of nurses in disease surveillance in Gaza province, including Chibuto, Manjacaze, Xai-Xai, and Bilene districts. SCF/US reported an increase in bloody diarrhea during the previous week in these areas but no new cases of cholera.

On March 24, a USAID/DART health specialist in Beira met with staff from Health Alliance International (HAI), a USAID grantee. HAI staff reported that there have been no reported disease outbreaks in the area, and that disease levels are similar to previous years. According to HAI, most affected people in this area are living in or near their homes rather than in large centers, thereby reducing the risk of epidemics. However, HAI staff are uncertain if normal health surveillance efforts are working in affected areas with no health facilities.

During a March 23 health coordination meeting, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF)/Switzerland (SW) reported that in Chiacalane (the largest accommodation center now serving 60,000 IDPs) the nutritional status of new arrivals from Chokwe appears poor. MSF/SW is planning to carry out a nutritional survey and, if necessary, is prepared to establish a supplementary feeding center in the accommodation center.

On March 23, MSF/SW reportedly received a MOH request to supply diarrheal disease treatment centers being set up in Maputo and Matola city. The MOH plans to provide sufficient staff in these centers. MSF/SW reported that the MOH has received commitments from various groups for the funding of staff salaries for these special centers.

MSF is reportedly chlorinating wells in Machanga district. These wells are producing water, and production could be increased if necessary.

Water and Sanitation: USAID/DART specialists are evaluating current water/sanitation capacity in country to meet emergency water and sanitation needs in accommodation centers and isolated communities.

USAID/DART water/sanitation specialists recently visited an Austrian army mobile water treatment unit based in Chibuto’s airport, which has a capacity of 80,000 liters per day. The unit is currently processing water at the rate of 50,000 liters per day. River water is being trucked to the airport in bladder tanks on flatbed trucks, treated in the system, and then driven to the smaller accommodation centers. Water is being trucked as far as 70 km away. The Austrian military has distributed water to people camped along the road between Xai-Xai and Chibuto but is planning to pull out within one month.

On March 23, USAID/DART health and water/sanitation specialists temporarily based in Beira conducted an aerial assessment of flood-hit towns along the Buzi and Save rivers, including Buzi, Save, Machaze, and Nova Mamboni. The team reported that shelters in the areas visited are spread out along areas of dry ground. The Save airstrip also is running well under full capacity. MSF reported that needs in the Save area were being addressed, and that MSF was moving water equipment from this zone to Gaza province. MSF staff said that health and water sectors were in good shape, and that they had seen no problems with cholera.

On March 22, a USAID/DART health specialist traveled to Beira. He learned that NGOs are addressing water/sanitation issues among larger groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs), however, smaller groups are still using unsafe water. NGO staff also reported problems with the appropriate use of chlorine tablets and stated that the disease surveillance system has not detected significantly elevated numbers of cholera, dysentery, or malaria cases. The staff cited transportation for medical supplies and food as a priority.

Action of Churches Together (ACT), a Geneva-based NGO, reported to USAID/DART on March 22 on water/sanitation issues in Moamba and Boane towns in Maputo province. According to ACT, Moamba's water system used to supply some 16,000 people consisting of 6,000 in the town and another 10,000 in the surrounding areas. The water supply is no longer functioning, as the system's one functioning river intake pump was destroyed in the flood. The pumps are no longer made and repair parts/supplies are not available, according to ACT. The only sources of drinking water are now a 2-3 km walk to the Incomati river, or rainwater.

ACT reported that negotiations are currently underway with a dam operator upstream to temporarily reduce water flow to make repair work possible to the water pipeline in Maputo. ACT recommended that in the long term the pipeline should be replaced.

Education: According to the GRM’s Ministry of Education (MOE), 499 primary schools (out of 2,204 total in the affected districts) were damaged by flooding comprising 1,300 classrooms. 721 of the damaged schools can be rehabilitated but 579 need to be replaced. 207,980 pupils are affected, roughly 10% of the total primary pupils in Mozambique. In addition, seven secondary and two technical schools also were affected. Total damage to this sector is estimated at $20.8 million.

The MOE noted that although the reconstruction needs must begin to be addressed immediately, the MOE’s immediate objective is to re-start classes as soon as possible for all pupils. The MOE has specifically requested financial and/or in-kind support, coordination support, and technical assistance support.

Food and Agriculture: On March 24, USAID/OFDA-grantee SCF/US reported that Chibuto and Xai-Xai still are accessible only by air. Food distribution in these sites have been inadequate, according to SCF/US.

SCF/US also reported that children in Chibuto, Chicambane and Manjacaze appeared thinner and weaker, and a few children with marasmus (severe malnutrition) have been observed. SCF/US has not conducted a nutritional assessment, but plans to start a blanket supplementary feeding program for all children aged six months to six years in these locations. This program will be closely coordinated with three MOH nutritionists.

SCF/US also reported that there are 150 children in Macia hospital who are very malnourished and need immediate assistance. At the request of UNICEF, SCF/US plans to provide the MOH-standard therapeutic formula (milk-oil-sugar, known locally as loa) needed to treat these acute cases.

On March 24, local press reported that 90% of the 26,000 population in Mabalane district, Gaza province, are at risk of severe food shortages after losing all their crops in the February floods. Losses were reported of at least 20,000 hectares of maize, beans, and cassava, as well as 600 head of cattle, and household food stocks. Some food aid distributions have been delivered into this still-isolated area. Local officials have reported that residents in this district would need food assistance until a second-season harvest can be brought in following planting as the floodwaters recede.

The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has notified USAID that it is continuing airlift deliveries of 10-12 MT per day into isolated areas along the northern bank of the Limpopo river. WFP is also pre-positioning two-week food stocks in Machaze and Save. World Vision, SCF/US, and WFP are working together on land transport from airdrop locations to the distribution sites. WFP also stated that if the road from Beira can be reopened quickly, food can again move down from Beira to these areas.

Repair work is underway and the main road in Sofala will be open to the Save area soon. Once the road is open, road transport all the way south to the north bank of the Limpopo will be possible.

According to USAID/DART, WFP clarified that two men and two children were killed in Chiacalane on March 22 following an uncontrolled and uncoordinated food distribution. Four people remain in serious condition in this incident, which was mistakenly reported as a food riot previously. Staff from WFP and various NGOs (including Caritas -- the NGO responsible for camp organization/management), local government representatives, and church officials are working to review distribution procedures in order to avoid any other such incidents. WFP has requested that the GRM’s National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) increase efforts to ensure that church and private donations are coordinated with WFP and local authorities in the accommodation centers and other distribution sites. The GRM has also appealed for all relief agencies to coordinate with the appropriate partners and local authorities.

As of March 24, WFP reported deliveries of 164 MT of food commodities, bringing the total since the beginning of the operation to 4,094 MT, providing rations to 496,961 beneficiaries.

According to USAID/DART, immediate needs for seeds and tools are reportedly being filled, although unidentified gaps may still exist. Progress is being made on procurement and delivery of these inputs and for rapid distribution to beneficiaries for immediate planting as floodwaters recede.

Seeds procured in Zimbabwe by USAID/OFDA grantee World Relief have begun arriving in Maputo for onward distribution. Transport for 215 MT is being provided by military airlifts (primarily U.S. Air Force) through the UN-Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC), while about 200 MT is moving by ship from Beira to Maputo.

Shelter: In Magoanine, on the outskirts of Maputo city, the municipal government has prepared plans to construct shelters for 1,700 flood-displaced families, of which 600 have already arrived on site. The plan calls for roads, schools, and other infrastructure as well as two designs for 18-square-meter houses costed at $60-70 per square meter. If the plan does not receive donor support, the municipal council plans to lend half the construction cost to families who are able to self-construct. Council members have noted that the families benefiting from this plan will have legal ownership of their homes, whereas in their pre-flood locations 90% of them were squatters.

Transport/Logistics: AirServ, a USAID/OFDA grantee, currently has one helicopter stationed in Beira and will be adding three more helicopters on March 28 to help backfill emergency air transport requirements as the military assets leave the region. At the same time, road access is steadily increasing. WFP has issued tenders for more helicopter support.

As of March 24, UN-JLOC air assets have flown a total of 4,091 MT of relief supplies (80% food and 20%non-food) since the beginning of the relief operation. UN-JLOC has also transported 20,136 passengers, including 13,000 people were rescued.

On March 24, a group of senior Mozambican engineers presented the results of a three-week assessment of the February flood damage to Maputo city. The presentation identified the problems in the wetlands and dry lands of the urban and peri-urban area and provided information for designing and implementing appropriate reconstruction activities. The presenters also made recommendations on strengthening the capacity of the Maputo city council (now an elected body) to manage financial and technical matters such as urban planning, zoning, and settlement.

Affected Numbers: On March 17, the INGC disseminated updated numbers on the disaster-affected population in Mozambique. About 2 million people are affected, with severe economic difficulties. Of this group, 1 million require food aid (free distribution or food-for-work) and/or medical help. 640,000 of these are in need of free food rations, including IDPs and isolated populations that lost subsistence crops. 458,000 people are now residing in 117 IDP accommodation centers and 16 isolated settlements. 640 deaths have been officially recorded.

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

Since the onset of the disaster, USAID has provided $17.3 million in response to the flood crisis in southern Africa. This response includes $8.5 million through USAID/OFDA for search and rescue support, procurement and transport of relief commodities, and grants for the provision of emergency assistance in the sectors of water/sanitation, health, and agriculture (seeds and tools). The USAID/Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has also allocated $7 million for emergency Title II food aid to affected countries in the region. USAID/Maputo provided $1.8 million for emergency infrastructure repairs. (Note: Please refer to attached table for further details on USG regional response to the flood crisis.)

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

Although the U.S. Joint Task Force Atlas Response (JTF-AR) is winding down, three C-130 missions delivered emergency seed supplies from Beira to Maputo on March 25. Helicopter missions out of Beira also delivered nine MT of food to several sites in Sofala including Buzi and Machanga. The helicopters are scheduled to fly their last missions on March 26 and are scheduled to re-deploy to South Africa on March 27.

On March 24, JTF aircraft delivered 28 MT of seeds under the USAID/OFDA grant to World Relief. The seed were immediately loaded onto trucks and dispatched to distribution sites for 4,000 families in Chokwe and other districts in Gaza.

According to the phased departure of U.S. military personnel and equipment from Mozambique and South Africa, U.S. military aircraft are expected to begin departing in the coming days, as road conditions improve and additional commercial assets move in to take their place. The re-deployment is expected to be completed by the end of the month but will be re-evaluated if conditions on the ground worsen or commercial assets are found to be insufficient.

USAID continues to fund 13 aircraft to assist with relief operations in Mozambique. Recent road repairs have allowed increased use of trucks to deliver aid supplies.

Local Response:

According to USAID/DART, relief agencies working in the food sector in Gaza province have reported problems with the GRM regarding coordination issues. Regular meetings with the INGC is set to begin in nearby Xai-Xai on March 28, which may help address coordination problems in the province.

International Response:

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

On March 23, the USAID/DART field officer in Beira reported that Concern and the British Red Cross plan to distribute 5,000 agriculture kits in Buzi and Machanga. The British Red Cross has contributed commodities for the kits.

A British naval ship ceased helicopter activities off the Sofala coast on March 24. German helicopters are scheduled to depart early next week. Two Malawi helicopters are reported to be departing March 30.

At a March 23 meeting between the National Water Authority (DNA) and donors, the World Bank reported that it is supporting the National Water Project (PDNA). The PDNA is already rehabilitating urban water/sanitation in Maputo and Matola, as well as flood prevention activities. The World Bank is waiting to commit funding at a projected level of $4-5 million until other donors have made commitments.

A preliminary draft of the World Bank-led, multi-donor assessment of damages related to flooding in Mozambique is in circulation for participating institutions to review. While total damages (impact losses plus reconstruction costs) may be close to $1 billion, economic costs associated with lost revenues and negative fiscal impact have yet to be calculated. There has been no attempt to relate the costs associated with the latest U.N.-GRM emergency appeal to the costs associated with the report.


The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on March 23, the U.N. Inter-agency Appeal for $3.31 million was issued for Zimbabwe. The updated appeal includes 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.

To date, $4 million has been provided to the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ), U.N. agencies, and NGOs, according to OCHA. The outstanding requirements are for repair of main roads and bridges to improve access to affected areas.

OCHA also reports that the U.N. assessment teams have returned to Harare and report that data gathering is still a problem due to the inaccessibility of some affected areas and the lack of resources for civil protection teams at district and provincial levels. Affected districts include Chiredzi (Masvingo province), Plumtree (Matebeleland province), and Chipinge and Chimanimani (Manicaland province). Continuing rains have also hindered the recovery process and damaged crops in the southern part of the country.

U.N. reports continue to estimate that 96,000 people are in need of immediate assistance, and that 20,000 of these persons have lost their homes. Some 500,000 people are less directly affected. Most displaced persons are beginning to return home to start the process of rebuilding.

According to the U.N. and the GOZ, 100 people have died from the floods in Zimbabwe.


According to the Government of Madagascar’s National Disaster Unit (CNS), 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. 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. The CNS reports that some 200 people have died as a result of the storms.

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.


On March 27, USAID/DART members in Botswana submitted a final report on assessments conducted in Martins Drift, Francistown, Nlaphwane, Maun, and Ghanzi. The team reported that the situation has continued to improve in most of Botswana, although parts of Botswana are again experiencing torrential rains. Mud constructed dwellings in the Northeast continue to collapse or develop severe cracks due to flooding. Dwellings in Ghanzi also are not providing adequate shelter from the rains. The Government of Botswana (GOB) expects plastic sheeting will provide assistance in many areas where houses are not severely damaged, or in areas such as Ghanzi where the plastic sheeting would do much to improve the weather resistance of many of the dwellings.

According to the USAID/DART assessment, all main roads and bridges are reportedly open and readily traveled. Main roads in areas visited in the north, west, and central areas of Botswana that were damaged have been or are presently being repaired. Bridge approaches and culverts on secondary roads reportedly will need some repairs or improvements.

In Martins Drift, USAID/DART observed that damage to the border crossing and government buildings were not as severe as reported previously. The GOB has already begun repairs (cleaning, painting, and floor tile replacement) to dwellings and other structures. The Martins Drift border crossing is presently scheduled to open at the beginning of April.

USAID/DART members have recommended provision of water testing kits and plastic sheeting through USAID/Gaborone in affected areas. The team also recommended assistance to the GOB in the areas of mitigation, preparation, coordination, assessment and reporting, and monitoring in order to promote the country’s ability to meet its own needs.

The GOB reported that most of the flood 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. It 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.

Four of South Africa's nine provinces (Mpumalanga, Northern, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Gauteng) were hard hit. The combined population of these areas is approximately 1.5 million. The majority of flood damage occurred in Mpumalanga and Northern provinces. In Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng provinces, vulnerable people living in informal (squatter) settlements were left homeless as a result of the flooding. An estimated 120,000 families in the Northern province are reportedly short of food as a result of damage to transportation infrastructure and loss of food supplies, crops, and livestock.

The Government of South Africa (SAG), the private sector, local and international NGOs, and donors continue to be significantly involved in relief efforts. Assistance now is targeted at humanitarian relief and infrastructure repair. USG contribution to flood response efforts continues with USAID and private voluntary assistance.

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. In early March, Tropical Depression Gloria crossed through Madagascar and drifted slowly westward through Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, northern Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, causing additional flooding.

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

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.


USG Agency
Activities Funded
USAID/Mozambique Grant to CFM (the Mozambican rail and port authority) for emergency repair of Limpopo rail line
USAID/Mozambique Funding to Africon for an engineering assessment of water, sanitation and electrical systems and roads in Chokwe and Xai Xai
USAID/BHR/FFP Emergency food aid (Title II)
USAID/BHR/OFDA Medecins Sans Frontiers for emergency relief activities
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to WFP for the provision and transport of relief commodities and air transport for assessment missions
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to Save the Children/US for emergency health and agriculture initiatives in Gaza province for about 55,000 beneficiaries
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to AirServ for support to rescue operations and transport of emergency relief items and personnel
USAID/BHR/OFDA 200 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6,000 water jugs, and 6,000 wool blankets from BHR/OFDA stockpiles via DOD-funded aircraft
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to WFP for local procurement of emergency food aid
USAID/BHR/OFDA Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits for SCF/US, SCF/UK and World Relief
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to World Relief for seeds & tools program targeting 26,260 families in Gaza province
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to CARE for seeds & tools program targeting 7,380 families in Inhambane province
USAID/BHR/OFDA Miami-Dade search-and-rescue operations cost
USAID/BHR/OFDA US Coast Guard operations cost
USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to World Vision for seeds & tools and water & sanitation program targeting 10,000 people in Sofala province
USAID/BHR/OFDA Second grant to AirServ for additional air and transport support for relief operations
USAID/BHR/OFDA Response to WFP appeal for transport/relief operations support
USAID/BHR/OFDA DART support costs (admin support and technical staff)
Dept. of Defense (DOD)* Transport support and provision of relief commodities (blankets and tents)
Subtotal USG response for Mozambique
Madagascar USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to CRS for provision of emergency water services and road clearance/rehabilitation
USAID/BHR/OFDA Response for WFP special appeal for emergency transport support
Botswana USAID/BHR/OFDA Procurement of emergency sanitation systems through USAID/Botswana
South Africa USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency relief supplies
Zimbabwe USAID/BHR/OFDA Grant to Zimbabwean Red Cross for emergency relief supplies

* Note: A Presidential Drawdown Authority of up to $37.6 million has been authorized.