Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #23, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Report
from US Agency for International Development
Published on 07 Apr 2000


Regional Overview

According to the ministries of health of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, 10 million people in southern Africa are now at risk for cholera, malaria, and other water-borne diseases,

Mozambique

Floodwaters: According to the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), as of April 5, the water level of the Umbeluzi, Incomati, and Limpopo rivers are dropping slowly. The water level of the Save has increased slightly, however no renewed flooding has been reported.

On April 5, the INGC reported that the water level of the Buzi river and its tributaries has fallen significantly, mainly due to the discontinuation of discharges from the Chicamba dam. The water level in this basin could rise if rain continues inland.

Health: A USAID/DART Health Specialist reported on April 4 that a Ministry of Health (MOH) team visited Chiacalane accommodation center to assess the health situation. The MOH team found that a total of 22,000 patient consultations have been conducted to date. Of these consultations, 48% of patients were found to have malaria, 8.2% of patients had respiratory infections, and 6.3% had diarrheal diseases.

The MOH reported that cholera cases continue to be reported in Maputo city and Maputo Province. Reported cases for the last week in March and the first week in April are as follows: Maputo city, 1,935; and Maputo Province, 235. The number of reported cases in Maputo Province may increase due to the recent opening of a cholera treatment center.

The MOH and UNICEF conducted a rapid nutrition assessment in Gaza and Inhambane provinces from March 29-31. The assessment was carried out in five accommodation centers in Gaza and six in Inhambane. The assessment found that 0.4% of children suffer from severe malnutrition and 6% suffer from mild to moderate malnutrition. In addition, the incidence of diarrhea is very high among severely and moderately malnourished children.

Following the release of the findings from the nutritional survey, the MOH held a meeting on April 5 with participants from UNICEF, USAID, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to set criteria for establishing therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs, including recommended food items for such programs. The overall goal is to prevent malnutrition in accommodation centers and isolated areas where the distribution of general rations is inadequate due to logistical constraints.

Water and Sanitation: The USAID/DART Water and Sanitation Specialist reports that to date, UNICEF has distributed 7,000 family sanitation kits and has deployed teams to conduct hygiene education programs among populations returning ot their homes. UNICEF is in the process of preparing several thousand additional kits.

UNICEF plans to initiate a radio campaign on cholera and malaria prevention to augment their current hygiene education programs.

An assessment of Matola is expected to be completed over the weekend. Preliminary reports indicate that the water system in Chinavane was badly damaged during the flooding and it will need significant repairs in order to reestablish water and sanitation services.

Food and Agriculture: The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) delivered 396.9 MT of food on April 3 and 4. Since WFP began emergency operations on February 11, over 6,500 MT of food aid has been delivered.

The INGC reports that to date agricultural kits have been delivered to 9,432 households in Chokwe, 884 households in Magude, 3,969 households in Machanga, and 4,000 households in Xai Xai districts.

Shelter: According to Save the Children U.S. (SCF/US), in the 15 accommodation centers in Gaza Province, 100% of the people have shelter, 95% have adequate water supply, and 90% have access to adequate sanitation facilities (one latrine per 250 people).

In the 18 accommodation centers SCF/US assessed in Maputo Province, 100% of the people have shelter, 33% have insufficient water, 57% have inadequate access to sanitation facilities, and 61% have an insufficient food supply, however, there is adequate access to health services.

Transport/Logistics: The Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC) reports that there are currently 35 aircraft available for emergency flood relief operations, primarily comprised of helicopters. Heavy-capacity aircraft such as C-130 and C-160s are reported to be lacking.

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 (general distributions or food-for-work) and/or medical help. 640,000 of these are in need of food rations, including IDPs and isolated populations that lost subsistence crops.

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

To date, USAID has provided over $18.4 million in response to the flood crisis in southern Africa. This response includes $9.6 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.)

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.

Local Response

The Government of Mozambique (GRM) is in the process of completing a document on post-flood reconstruction in Mozambique which will be presented at donor conference scheduled for May 3 and 4 in Rome, Italy.

International Response

Information on donor activities and international response to date is available at www.reliefweb.int.

Portuguese marines who had been assisting with the emergency operations in the Save valley departed Mozambique on April 4. Prior to their departure, the Portuguese donated 20 boats to the Mozambican navy.

Zimbabwe

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.

Madagascar

USAID/OFDA has awarded a grant to CRS for $412,100 to meet the emergency relief needs of 15,000 families in six counties in Madagascar through the provision of health and agricultural programs.

Botswana

USAID/OFDA has procured and shipped six water quality test kits to Gaborone to be consigned to USAID/Gaborone. The total cost for the test kits, including transport, is $16,288.

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 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. At least 8,000 km of provincial roads have been severely damaged.

The Government of South Africa (SAG), the private sector, local and international NGOs, and donors continue to be significantly involved in relief efforts. Assistance 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.

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.

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 www.info.usaid.gov 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 (www.interaction.org). 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.