Botswana + 4 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #22, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Regional Overview

Meteorologists in southern Africa are tracking cyclone Hudah, which developed over the Indian Ocean on March 26. According to USAID/Antananarivo, the situation is not considered critical at this time. As of 2 AM EST March 31, the cyclone remains more than 1,300 km east-northeast off the coast of Madagascar, according to the national meteorological service. The storm is moving in a west-southwestward direction at 19 km per hour. The average wind speed is 128 km per hour, with gusts up to 180 km per hour.

Madagascar's national meteorological service predicts that if Hudah maintains its current trajectory and speed, it is expected to hit land along the east coast of Madagascar between Mahanoro and Mananjary on April 3. USAID will continue to monitor and report on the storm's progress.

The U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 800,000 people in the region remain at risk of cholera and malaria due to the floods. USAID/DART members continue working with U.N. and NGO partners in monitoring the impact of the two diseases.


Floodwaters: According to USAID/Maputo, torrential rains lashed Maputo city and province on March 27, dumping 70 mm in a brief period. Wind gusts were measured at 61 km per hour.

Light rains were reported in Inhambane and Maputo provinces. A cold front hit Mozambique on March 26 and is expected to last until April 6. The front is likely to bring additional rains to these provinces.

On March 29, the Government of Mozambique's (GRM) National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) reported that the Umbeluzi, Incomati, and Pungue river levels were decreasing from previous flood levels. Decreases in water levels also were measured on the Limpopo in Xai Xai, on the Zambezi river upstream from Cabbora Bassa dam, and on the Licungo. Nevertheless, all rivers remain well above normal levels. The Buzi remains unchanged at high levels. In fact, both the Buzi and the Pungue remain above alert level. The GRM continues to warn that river levels remain unstable, and continued rains in the region could again cause levels to rise.

From March 22 - 25, USAID/DART conducted an aerial assessment of portions of the Save and Buzi river basins. The team observed that the mouth of the Save river is still the most affected area. Most of the concrete structures observed were without roofs. Many flood-affected people in the area are not living in accommodation centers but have instead remained near the towns. Much of the area at Machanga is isolated due to impassable roads.

According to the GRM, in January, Maputo province experienced twice the normal precipitation at 300 mm. February was six times the normal at 675 mm, while in March to date, rains have totaled 250 mm or twice the normal amount. Rainfall levels in Inhambane, Gaza, and Xai Xai were at least twice the normal average since January.

Health: USAID/DART members assessed the Beira service area (comprised of districts in Sofala, Inhambane, and Manica provinces) from March 22 - 25. The team learned there were no epidemics in the area. Malaria is the most serious health problem in flood-affected populations, but it is endemic in this region and most of Mozambique.

In response to heightened cholera concerns raised by the GRM's Ministry of Health (MOH), the USAID/DART health specialists continue to travel to sites in Matola and Maputo city in order to get a clearer picture on the situation. Various agencies such as UNICEF, the Mozambican Red Cross, and Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) are working in conjunction with the MOH, to address cholera concerns.

Through the week of March 11, the number of suspected cholera cases in Maputo and Matola cities is lower than compared to the same time in 1999. In the two weeks that followed, however, the cholera caseload outnumbered those of the previous year. For the 11th and 12th weeks of the year 2000, 478 and 860 cases of cholera were reported respectively compared to 352 and 295 cases for these same weeks in 1999.

According to the MOH, a cholera outbreak will be declared once the number of positive lab tests reaches 25%. As of March 14, 16% of the lab tests in Maputo tested positive for cholera. The MOH reports that the number of suspected cholera cases in Sofala and Maputo provinces has remained fairly constant, with the current case level in Sofala somewhat lower than the same period in 1999.

On March 30, the MOH informed USAID/DART that it has sufficient quantities of drugs to treat the increase in diarrheal disease for the next month. However, should a cholera outbreak occur, the MOH may be in need of additional drugs. The MOH also has identified a need for gloves, hygiene supplies, and health education materials.

The MOH has submitted two appeals for pharmaceuticals since the beginning of the floods. The first appeal for immediate pharmaceutical needs received a 100% response. The second appeal, covering the next three to four months, still reports a funding shortfall. The MOH is now working to replenish drug stocks lost due to flooding in warehouses, particularly in Gaza and Sofala provinces.

The USAID/DART health team and USAID/Maputo assessed Chibuto and Chiacalane on March 30. One of the main purposes of the assessment was to investigate press reports of eleven sudden, unknown deaths at the Spanish military field hospital in Chiacalane. The USAID/DART health team found that the press reports were incorrect.

An epidemiologist from the WHO reports that the level of acute diarrhea has increased significantly in Maputo city since mid-March. Data on acute diarrhea in other flood-affected areas of Mozambique is incomplete at this time.

Based on recent assessments, USAID/DART specialists report that baseline data are available but are inadequate to compare malaria incidence before and after the floods in the Beira area. Medical response capacity in the Beira area is in place. However, systematic and thorough surveillance is needed. Another need for the Beira area is emergency road repair and reconstruction of health facilities. NGOs have expressed concern that isolated populations in the Beira area do not have adequate access to health services.

On March 28, USAID/DART health specialists were informed by local officials that floods did not cause extensive damage to the 107 health centers in Maputo province, as previously reported. Many of the centers were not well maintained before the floods.

Nutritional needs of the population in the Beira area are generally being met satisfactorily through the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) food deliveries. (UNICEF advised on March 27 that reports of high numbers of malnourished children in Macia and Chiacalane were incorrect.) Vaccination needs are also being addressed, and on March 25, Medecins du Monde (MDM), in conjunction with the MOH, will initiate a vaccination campaign targeted at heavily populated areas. Vaccinations will reportedly include measles immunizations, tetanus for pregnant women, and meningitis to the whole population.

Finally, USAID/DART reported improved coordination in Beira among the INGC, US Joint Task Force Civil-Military Operations Center, and NGOs. Approximately 12 health NGOs are operating in the area, including World Vision, Action contre la Faim (ACF), MDM, Concern, THW (a German company contracted to the German government), and the British Red Cross.

The Mozambican Red Cross (CVM) reported on March 27 that it is currently providing basic services at 58 accommodation centers and first aid posts in affected areas through 11 health workers and 632 volunteers. The CVM has participated in rescue operations and provided assistance to flood victims since the beginning of the emergency. The International Federation of the Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies (IFRC) is supporting CVM emergency response efforts.

According to CVM, malaria, diarrhea, and wounds are the most common health problems in Gaza province, Maputo city, and Maputo province. Malaria is reportedly affecting about 50% of cases treated by CVM, and diarrhea about 10%.

UNICEF is reportedly developing an environmental health rehabilitation plan for Chokwe, to be implemented in one or two weeks. The plan includes an awareness campaign on environmental hygiene, according to the INGC. UNICEF plans to implement similar clean up activities in Xai Xai district.

UNICEF will soon conduct three nutritional assessments of IDP sites in Gaza, Inhambane, and Sofala provinces in order to determine appropriate nutritional interventions over the next few weeks. Additionally, UNICEF plans to conduct a thorough survey of nutritional status in isolated areas of Maputo province.

Water and Sanitation: According to USAID/DART, water purification remains a necessity in accommodation centers and isolated areas. Most people are familiar with chlorine, but primarily with liquid or powder forms, rather than chlorine tablets. The MOH is aware of this issue and has developed protocols for the provision of chlorine and its use.

According to relief agencies, the most critical problem in the Beira area is the flooding of wells. Many wells now need to be cleaned and disinfected.

Food and Agriculture: According to WFP, monthly food needs for the flood emergency in Mozambique average 11,000 tons for the next three months, targeting 650,000 people. WFP requires 53,000 tons of food commodities for the mid March - mid September period. WFP has borrowed in-country stocks from the development program, as well as purchasing food locally and regionally.

As the flood emergency subsides and people return home, general food distributions will be replaced by food-for-work activities, which will be implemented in collaboration with NGOs and local authorities. WFP also plans to provide a one-month return package, including food and seeds and tools. WFP plans to conduct an annual crop assessment in mid-April, in conjunction with the GRM's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), USAID Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the INGC.

According to USAID/Maputo, the GRM has issued a final official report on an incident at Chiacalane accommodation center previously reported as a food riot. The GRM report indicates one person has died and five were injured when a panicked truck driver tried to move his vehicle through an unruly and violent crowd. The incident occurred during uncontrolled distribution of aid by a church group. Meanwhile, humanitarian officials report that five people were killed and 10 others injured in the incident.

Local media continue to report serious food shortages in Mabalane district (Gaza province). A report issued by MSF/Spain suggests, however, that humanitarian needs in the district were not urgent. WFP reported to USAID/DART on March 28 that food had been delivered to Mabalane within the last few days. USAID/Maputo staff traveled to Mabalane on March 27 and reported that the main problem now is isolation rather than flood damage.

During a March 28 USAID/DART visit, NGOs working in the Beira service area expressed concern regarding targeting food distribution. USAID/DART staff is working with WFP to resolve this problem. There are more than 50 relief agencies working in the Beira area, according to the UN.

WFP reported that it has distributed forms to all its implementing partners requesting information on relief goods and distribution needs. In addition, WFP has requested information on the accessibility of location by road, river, or air.

USAID/Maputo reports that current food stocks and food on the market are sufficient. The problem of food deficiency appears to be one of effective demand and distribution, not overall availability.

According to USAID/DART, the MARD reported excellent coordination in seeds and tools distribution among NGOs, WFP, and the MADR. This close coordination has allowed "seed protection" food rations and seed/tool kits to be delivered together, thus ensuring that hungry people do not eat their seeds.

According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' (OCHA) Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), the INGC estimates that 124,250 families will require seeds and tools to help them prepare for the planting season due to start in April. Donor response for seeds and tools now covers supplies for more than 91,000 households.

Preliminary data released by the MARD indicates that approximately 168,000 cattle, 62,000 sheep and goats, 111,000 poultry, and 7,000 pigs and hogs were lost or are at serious risk in flood-affected areas. (The data on cattle and small ruminants are inconsistent with recent assessment information.)

Shelter: According to INGC and relief agencies, as of March 24, more than 4,000 rolls of plastic sheeting and 1,000 tarpaulins, as well as 965 tents of various sizes, have been distributed. About 5,000 bales of clothes and 3,100 cooking sets were distributed.

According to IRIN, shelter materials were provided to 230 families in Nova Sofala this week from Beira, and that 400 other families in Mossurize were scheduled to receive non-food aid. The Chibuto, Chokwe, and Xai Xai districts in Gaza province received 1,500 tents and 28,000 blankets so far, the INGC reports.

WFP is now distributing 100,000 kits of cooking and eating utensils, primarily in accommodation centers where these items are lacking.

Transport/Logistics: Road access from Beira south to Inhambane and Gaza provinces was re-established on March 26. OCHA reported on March 30 that, for the first time, deliveries of food from Beira to Xai Xai took place by road. The Chibuto bridge is also reportedly open.

According to USAID/Maputo, advances in emergency repair should soon allow delivery of much of the supplies to the heavily affected north bank of the Limpopo river by road from Beira.

WFP reportedly has contracted for two South African helicopters now working in Beira and two larger helicopters to begin operation on March 31. WFP is currently using one smaller and one larger helicopter in Maputo. According to WFP, current air assets have been reduced from 53 to 29 aircraft. WFP requires some $11 million to secure additional civilian air capacity and continue delivering relief assistance.

WFP has appealed for an additional $3.3 million to fund some emergency road and bridge repairs which will permit the delivery of relief assistance to the flood affected people. WFP plans to collect and compile the results by March 29 in order to determine air support needs for the next month.

On March 29, the UN/Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC) reported the following total figures on air operations to date: cargo 4,131 MT and 19,224 passengers. From March 24 - 29, AirServ transported 50,568 MT of food and non-food supplies and 289 relief personnel to Xai Xai, Chibuto, Chaimite, Mquese, and Palmeria.

The JLOC is expected to move its logistics base from Palmeira to Chokwe shortly. JLOC expects to move food supplies to Chokwe soon.

The INGC reported on March 27 that as air assets diminish, air operations should focus exclusively on areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Passenger service between Maputo and Beira will cease, since commercial services are available.

Since the beginning of the flood response on February 11, WFP has delivered approximately 5,100 MT of food. Close to 1,800 MT, representing 43% of the total, were delivered by air. On March 27 and 28, 214 MT of food aid was delivered. WFP has contracted six civilian helicopters to replace military assets and is in the process of negotiating additional air support.

From March 24 - 26, WFP reported that 638 MT of food were delivered. Almost half of that amount was transported via truck or boat. Deliveries of food and other basic items continue to be made by a combination of aircraft, boats, and trucks.

WFP reported it has pre-positioned 15 - 60 days worth of food, depending on the place, in different locations around the Beira service area. This was done to create relief distribution hubs for air transport in the event that roads are cut off again.

With the agreement of the GRM, the U.N. Disaster Assistance Coordination (UNDAC) and OCHA staff began holding coordination meetings on March 30 to discuss common information requirements (such as the opening of roads) and prioritization of air transport for humanitarian cargo. These coordination meetings, which will help to fill the logistics gap left by the departure of the military, will take place three times per week. The first meeting focused on gaps in humanitarian coverage for isolated populations.

On March 26, UNDAC and OCHA conducted an assessment in the town of Conhane in Chokwe district of Gaza province. The assessment team verified that Conhane has received two helicopter deliveries of food, but will continue to need food assistance. Conhane is also in need of seed.

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, one 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. 652 deaths have been officially recorded. About 14,000 persons were reportedly rescued from treetops and rooftops by South African helicopters.

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

On March 28, USAID/OFDA director H. Roy Williams returned to the United States after a ten-day visit to Mozambique. Based on his recommendations and with Embassy/Maputo approval, USAID/OFDA will phase out the operations center in Washington, DC, effective March 31. Management of the USAID/OFDA response in Washington will revert back to the East, Central, and Southern Africa regional team.

To date, USAID has provided $17.7 million in response to the flood crisis in southern Africa. This response includes $8.9 million provided through USAID/OFDA for search and rescue support, procurement and transport of relief commodities, and grants for the provision of emergency assistance. 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.)

With USAID/OFDA funding, two additional WHO health kits (each capable of treating 10,000 persons for 30 days) arrived in Maputo on March 29. USAID/OFDA has funded five health kits in total, costing about $51,208. The value of the two health kits, including transportation, is estimated at $51,208.

Seeds procured through an USAID/OFDA grant with World Relief began arriving in Mozambique on March 24. U.S. Air Force transported approximately 215 MT of seeds to distribution points within country. Another 200 MT were moved by ship from Beira to Maputo. World Relief seed and tools activities are expected to benefit 26,000 farmers in Chokwe, Guija, and Mabalane districts.

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

The withdrawal of international military assets in the southern Africa region started on March 27, due to improvements in road and rail systems. U.S. personnel and their specialized military equipment departed Mozambique on March 28 and headed for their home bases in Europe.

Since the beginning of U.S. military support in Mozambique, DOD has distributed more than 1,000 tons of foodstuffs, household utensils, and medicines in the districts of Buzi, Machanga, and Chibabava, using three helicopters and five Hercules C-130 cargo planes.

From March 24 - 26, the U.S. Joint Task Force Atlas Response (JTF-AR) moved 373 MT of relief supplies and 447 passengers. U.S. civilian assets, provided by USAID/OFDA, will remain in Mozambique. AirServ now has seven fixed-wing and eight rotary-wing aircraft operating in the Maputo and Beira regions. AirServ, with USAID/OFDA funding, delivered 68 MT of supplies and 1,269 passengers during the March 24 - 26 period.

Local Response:

The GRM's national water administration (DNA) announced it would be installing drainage pumps in Chokwe and Xai Xai. The administration is also considering support for water system rehabilitation.

Since March 10, the DNA has been coordinating technical assessments of the piped water systems in 29 towns and cities. The Canadian International Development Agency has seconded a coordination team to DNA to assist with coordination of longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction activities. Additionally, UNICEF has hired a person to coordinate all information regarding water and sanitation activities.

International Response:

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

According to USAID/DART, the international flood response has moved into a different phase; in-depth assessments and stabilization activities are underway and initial resettlement is being intensively planned.

IRIN reports that a joint assessment by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the GRM, the European Union, and the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) suggests that flood damage will cost Mozambique $1 billion in relief and reconstruction cost.


On March 29, USAID/OFDA provided $144,780 to Catholic Relief Services for the distribution of relief supplies to flood victims in Zimbabwe. The two-month program will provide non-food items to 15,000 people in flood-affected areas in Manicaland province, located in the easternmost part of the country bordering on Mozambique.

On March 23, the updated U.N. inter-agency appeal for $3.3 million was launched. The U.N. estimates 96,000 people are in need of immediate assistance, 20,000 of whom 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 Government of Zimbabwe, 100 people have died from the floods in Zimbabwe.


According to USAID/Antananarivo, a visit by US and local officials in the south central city of Fianarantsoa revealed that recent storms have exacerbated the existing structural and engineering problems in the area. Additional studies of adequate, feasible solutions for this port are necessary. An overflight of the main railway from Fianarantsoa to the port city of Manakara confirmed previous reports of damage to this vital transportation link.

The overflight team observed that local groups have managed to open the upper most portion of the railway for some 70 km and the lower railway for some 40 km. The amount of goods going out of the port has been reduced by two-thirds, primarily due to cyclone damage. Repair to both the railway and the port must be an important element of Madagascar's medium- to long-term recovery plans.

USAID/DART field officers, in conjunction with USAID and US DOD staff, assessed areas to the east and northeast of Madagascar over the past week. Preliminary findings of the assessment are as follows: in the east, there had been some damage to a number of government buildings, while private buildings had either suffered no damage or had already been repaired. Many areas further inland suffered disruption of water and electricity services. Reconstruction of most private houses has been initiated or completed. Significant amounts of replanting of rice are underway. Some agricultural areas along some rivers/streams were damaged, but overall rice production appeared to be good. Wind damage to structures was minimal overall. In the northeast, damage observed was much more severe than in some other areas of the country.

USAID/DART water/sanitation specialist will provide a detailed report on his visit to flood-affected areas on the west and east coastal areas. Generally, water and sanitation infrastructure were not particularly disrupted by the cyclones. The USAID/DART field officer and water/sanitation specialist will soon complete their assignments in Madagascar.

USAID/Antananarivo reported representatives of major donors involved in the response/recovery effort convened on March 24. Participants agreed that while the situation in Madagascar is not as dire as that in Mozambique, there has been serious damage. The donors concurred that immediate, urgent needs for food, medicine, or shelter for the victims of the recent storms are now being met (or will soon be met) with resources already in the pipeline. A current priority for donors is planning of medium- and long-term recovery activities, which will be informed by the overall estimate of recovery needs currently underway.

The World Bank, African Development Bank, the European Union, and USAID agreed to collaborate closely in design of their programs. The UNDP plans to help the Government of Madagascar's National Disaster Unit (CNS) develop an overall estimate of long-term recovery needs. This estimate should be available in the second half of April.

On March 28, WFP appealed for $5 million for an operation to provide emergency food rations to an estimated 129,000 people for the next four months (April-July). The appeal included $1.9 million to cover the costs of special operation for logistics support.

According to the 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 reports that about 500,000 people have been negatively affected and some 200 people have died as a result of the storms.


Thirty rolls of USAID/OFDA plastic sheeting are expected to arrive in Gaborone on April 7 via commercial aircraft. The total cost for the plastic sheeting, including transport, is $11,556.

According to the Government of Botswana (GOB), 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.

According to OCHA, the GOB launched its appeal for $7.4 million on March 14. The March appeal is an update of a previous appeal for $4 million launched on February 10.

The appeal indicates that water borne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, are a major health threat. Provision of safe water and medical care are critical. OCHA reports the GOB has so far mobilized $3.7 million towards response efforts.

The GOB reported that 17,000 houses were damaged or destroyed from rains and floodwaters in Botswana. 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

Floods have resulted in the death of approximately 100 people in South Africa. 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