Botswana + 2 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #7, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000


New Information is underlined.

Regional Overview

Intermittent rainfall continues in areas of Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Tropical Storm Gloria is located over the west coast of Madagascar, but has reportedly weakened.

The number of affected people in the region is more than 1 million, but assessments in some of these countries are ongoing.

Mozambique was the first country to declare a disaster on February 7, with Botswana following on February 16 and South Africa on February 17. The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe declared a disaster on February 29.


Weather: Mozambican meteorological forecasts are calling for the continuation of light rain in central and southern areas of the country, with the heaviest rain falling in the Zambezi River basin. This forecast also predicts that Tropical Storm Gloria may dissipate before reaching Mozambique.

Floodwaters: The INGC also reports that the water levels of the Save, Limpopo, Pungoe, and Buzi Rivers are slowly beginning to fall. The Zambezi River remains vulnerable due to possible flows from the Chiré River, which runs into the Zambezi below the Cahorra Bassa Dam. However, the Cahorra Bassa Dam has enough capacity to handle current water flows released from the Kariba Dam in Zambia.

Internally Displaced Populations: OCHA reports that the U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team is currently working on gathering comprehensive information on the location and numbers of affected populations, overall assets involved in rescue and relief operations, and the nature and quantities of supplies and food in-country.

The INGC currently estimates numbers of affected as 709,387 in the Limpopo River basin, 178,148 in the Save River basin, and 178,777 in the Buzi River basin. The INGC definition of "affected" is a population with severe economic difficulties. The INGC also lists 722,047 as "vulnerable", meaning in need of medical or other form of assistance.

The Mozambican Ministry of Social Welfare has reported the establishment of 12 accommodation centers in Maputo City (housing 11,280 people), 3 in Matola (3,919 people), 21 in Maputo Province (71,775 people), 24 in Gaza Province (94,000 people), 3 in Inhambane Province (5,100 people), and 5 in Manica/Sofala Provinces (67,700 people).

Several NGOs are reportedly constructing latrines and determining additional water and sanitation requirements for an estimated 30,000 people in Chacalane.

The U.N.'s Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) lists the official number of deaths at 200 and the number of displaced persons at up to 1 million. The entire relief community agrees, however, that the actual death toll will be much higher once the situation allows for complete assessments.

Rescue/Relief Operations: The South African Defense Force (SANDF) reports the rescue of 8,111 people over the past five days. SANDF also reported the delivery of approximately 58 MT of relief supplies to Beline, Magul, Chokwe, and Chibuto (Gaza Province).

Reports indicate that one of the major constraints to relief operations is the shortage of aircraft fuel.

INGC reports that as of March 2, 3 helicopters were working in the Save River valley. Numerous people rescued from this area are reportedly suffering from malaria, and several NGOs are transporting pharmaceuticals, water jugs, and other non-food commodities to the region.

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

Approximately half of the augmented USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has arrived in Maputo, with those remaining in Johannesburg scheduled to arrive there later today, March 3. The flights carrying the boats and trucks are scheduled to arrive in Maputo on Saturday morning, March 4.

USAID is funding 11 aircraft currently running emergency relief operations in the country. Several more aircraft are expected to arrive over the weekend.

USAID is currently finalizing plans to deploy a five-person technical assistance team from the U.S. Coast Guard to contribute to ongoing search and rescue efforts.

On March 2, the USAID Humanitarian Hotline received 117 inquiries for a total of 821 since activation. The USAID special web site dedicated to the flood response has received 1,764 hits.

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

In response to a request by the U.S. Embassy, DOD deployed a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) on February 17 to Mozambique and South Africa.

The United States European Command (EUCOM) is deploying a Joint Task Force (JTF) to assist in search and rescue and humanitarian relief operations. Preliminary estimates of equipment included in the JTF are 6 helicopters, 2 rigid boats for rescue operations, up to 13 C-130 aircraft for transportation of commodities and aerial refueling. DOD plans to deploy 700-950 personnel to support the operation.

Local Response:

On February 23, U.N. agencies and the GRM jointly issued a consolidated appeal for $13.6 million for emergency relief and rehabilitation activities for a six-month period. The appeal includes funding requirements for activities in the areas of food, shelter, health, water/sanitation, agriculture, education, and communication. Also included in the second appeal was a request by the GRM for assistance with rehabilitation and reconstruction costs, which are estimated at more than $50 million.

International Response:

Some of the more recent donor contributions are listed below. Additional information on donor activities is available at

The Government of Denmark has given over $2 million in emergency aid for flood victims.

On February 29, the Government of Spain indicated that it plans to contribute approximately $1.7 million in several phases for flood relief efforts. The funds were spent for tents, medicines, water, and clothing for affected populations in Mozambique and donations to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and NGOs for purchase and distribution of relief supplies.

The Government of Australia provided $160,000 to UNICEF and WFP to support flood response efforts in the region.

The Government of Canada announced to the press that it has provided over $1 million to several organizations for procurement of emergency supplies for flood victims in the region.

The Government of Ireland reported assistance in the amount of $520,000 for emergency operations.

The Government of Italy has contributed $490,000 for relief efforts in Mozambique and the Government of Switzerland has provided $650,000 to UNICEF and WFP.

The Government of Mauritius has announced its intent to donate more than $100,000 to help victims in Mozambique.

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) will contribute US $500,000 to the regional relief effort.


OCHA's latest Situation Report indicates that the number of affected people in Botswana is 73,000.

According to OCHA, the Government of Botswana (GOB) is currently conducting damage and needs assessments in order to update its February 10 appeal. An OCHA team currently in Mozambique will reportedly travel to Botswana early next week to assess the situation there.

The U.S. Embassy in Botswana declared a disaster on February 16. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided $25,000 through USAID/Gaborone for the procurement of emergency sanitation systems.

South Africa

Due to extensive flooding in the northeastern parts of South Africa and the resulting displacement of several small but isolated populations, U.S. Ambassador Lewis declared a disaster in these flood-affected areas on February 17. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 through USAID/South Africa to the South African Red Cross for the supply of blankets, food, and other relief items to 3,000 displaced persons in the Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces.


Cyclone Leon-Eline hit the southeastern areas of Zimbabwe on February 24-25. The rains have caused significant damage to roads, bridges and railways. The Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) declared a disaster in the southeastern provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo, and Matebeleland South on February 24.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued its first situation report on the flooding in Zimbabwe on March 2. That report lists an updated number of affected people of 500,000. Confirmed deaths are reported at approximately 60.

OCHA reports that the GOZ has identified primary needs as food, tents, pharmaceuticals, blankets, clothing, and sanitation systems.

OCHA deployed a team to Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Swaziland due to arrive in Harare on March 2. This team will provide advice and assistance as needed to the governments of the affected countries and the U.N. Disaster Management Teams in developing appeals.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald issued a disaster declaration on February 29. In response, USAID/BHR/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 on March 1 through the U.S. Mission to support relief activities. USAID remains in contact with the U.S. Mission in Harare to determine any additional needs.

Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)

USG Agency
Activities funded
Mozambique USAID/OFDA Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency relief activities
USAID/OFDA Grant to WFP for the provision of relief commodities and logistical support.
USAID/OFDA Grant to Save the Children/U.S. for emergency health initiatives in Gaza Province, for approximately 55,000 beneficiaries.
USAID/OFDA 200 rolls of plastic sheeting, 6,000 water jugs, and 6,000 wool blankets from stockpiles via a DOD-funded aircraft to shelter 2,000 families.
USAID/OFDA Search and rescue operations and air transport support.
2/29- 3/1
USAID/FFP Emergency food relief
USAID/OFDA Procurement of emergency sanitation systems
South Africa USAID/OFDA Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency supplies
Zimbabwe USAID/OFDA Grant to Zimbabwe Red Cross for emergency supplies
Total DOD

Regional Background

Higher than average rainfall coupled with 4 days of torrential rains from February 4-7 have 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 region over the week of February 20-26, bringing additional heavy rains and wind to areas already flooded.

Damage from the floods is extensive, isolating many areas and displacing populations in Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Access to safe water and sanitary conditions and threat of water-borne diseases in displaced populations is the main concern voiced by the various affected countries.

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.