Southern Africa Floods Regional Overview
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has announced the establishment of a disaster response task force to complete assessments and provide periodic reports on the impacts of the flooding on crop production and food security throughout the region. The task force will be led by the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development Coordination Unit's Regional Early Warning Unit, based in Harare. The regional offices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN World Food Program (WFP), and USAID/Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS) will assist SADC in its assessments.
Floodwaters: On March 22, the USAID/Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) reported that intermittent rainfall has been reported in the southern provinces in the last 24 hours. The weather outlook for Beira calls for partly cloudy skies through March 25.
Although some water levels are increasing due to dam releases and intense rainfall in neighboring countries, generally, water levels in Mozambique are receding.
Showers continue in Mozambique, but are expected to subside by the end of the week. The Save river is not expected to rise and the Buzi river levels have stabilized since March 19.
Weather/floodwater updates from the Government of Mozambique's (GRM) National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) are now available only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Health: A USAID/DART health specialist and a water/sanitation specialist were deployed to Beira on March 22 to better assess conditions in that area. USAID/DART health and water/sanitation teams are gathering and analyzing information from key sources on other flood-affected areas in order to better target USAID/DART field visits and programming.
The GRM's Ministry of Health (MOH) reports that the incidence of malaria is increasing rapidly in Maputo and Matola. Ground-level spraying has been expanded and aerial spraying is being considered for vector control. Similarly, acute diarrhea and cholera are on the rise, with incidence rates 30% higher than at this point in time last year.
Because the general hospital in Buzi is not operational, the GRM's MOH has requested international organizations to establish immediately a field hospital in Buzi town.
Water and Sanitation: During a March 17 water/sanitation meeting, participants discussed the tremendous need for additional latrines in accommodation centers, as well as possible response efforts. Oxfam reported there is a need to rehabilitate latrines in affected areas before internally displaced persons (IDPs) in accommodation centers begin returning home.
Food and Agriculture: Aid agencies have delivered more than 3,600 metric tons (MT) of food to beneficiary communities since February 11. Approximately half of the recent deliveries have been made overland from staging points in Beira and Maputo. Helicopters transported the remainder of the food stocks.
WFP's main priority is to further increase the proportion of truck deliveries. According to WFP, 60% of the food being delivered in Mozambique is being purchased locally.
According to survey data provided by the GRM's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), households in the five affected provinces have an average of 6.4 persons. About 22% are female headed. Ninety-two percent of households in these areas harvest maize and 51% beans. Only 18% of households have both low-lying and upland fields.
According to USAID/DART, MARD is encouraging NGOs and donors to begin thinking about assistance for the October 2000 planting season. MADR has stated that a strategy for this support would be discussed at a donor's conference scheduled for late April in Rome, Italy. The GRM has reported that $250 million will be needed to address the immediate aftermath of the flooding.
USAID/DART reports that the MARD is conducting assessments throughout affected areas, as well as coordinating the delivery of seeds and tools to affected communities.
The GRM's third emergency appeal, expected to be announced on March 22, will finance continued emergency relief operations as military logistics and transport support phases out. WFP plans to continue to manage the food delivery program through the end of April under this new appeal. In addition, WFP is now completing the strategy for initiating food-for-work (FFW) activities.
About 120,000 families have lost 140,000 hectares of farmland, according to the GRM. Humanitarian assistance will be needed until the next harvest in October/November.
Transport/Logistics: On March 22, WFP reported that approximately half of WFP deliveries are still being made by air. The WFP air support operation is being expanded as military aircraft are being withdrawn.
Affected Numbers: The GRM estimates roughly two million people have been affected by flooding, including 650,000 IDPs. (The 650,000 figure is an estimate based upon census data conducted in 1997, combined with information on which areas were flooded. This figure is also used by WFP to calculate emergency food beneficiaries.) Of those displaced, 463,000 are living in 121 accommodation centers and an unknown number of isolated areas.
According to the GRM, an additional 300,000-400,000 people also are affected seriously and in need of medical and other non-food assistance. (This population, however, is not included among the IDP count.) An additional 900,000 people are indirectly affected.
According to aid agencies, the death toll, currently near 500, is expected to rise after the waters recede.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Response: To date, USAID has provided $13.7 million in response to the flood crisis in southern Africa. USAID/Office for Food for Peace (FFP) has provided $7 million for Title II food aid and USAID/OFDA has provided $6.7 million for search and rescue support, procurement and transport of relief commodities, and grants for the provision of other emergency assistance in the sectors of water/sanitation, health, and basic seeds and tools.
USAID/OFDA Director H. Roy Williams, the USAID/DART Team Leader, and the USAID/DART program officer traveled to Beira on March 22 to meet with the USAID/DART field officer located in Beira, as well as INGC and NGO representatives.
Two USAID/DART health and water/sanitation specialists also traveled to Beira on March 22 to begin their five-day fact-finding mission there.
Between March 17-19, USAID/OFDA grantee Airserv delivered a total of 35 MT of relief commodities to Chibuto, Chokwe, Chiquane, Xai Xai, Macia, Palmeira, and Chacaquane. The relief goods, delivered on behalf of a variety of humanitarian organizations, included food, water, medical supplies, tents, and other shelter materials.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Search and Rescue (SAR) component of the USAID/DART (Miami-Dade) arrived in the U.S. on March 19.
The SAR team donated boats and equipment to NGOs for continued use in relief operations prior to departing from Mozambique. Food for the Hungry International (FHI) is using three SAR-donated boats to move supplies to Estaquinha, an isolated community located 60 km up the Buzi river. Action contre le Faim (ACF) is using a SAR-donated generator to operate water purification units along the Buzi river.
In addition, Medecins du Monde (MDM) is using SAR-donated tents and meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) to provide for the needs of its assessment teams. MDM also is using medical equipment donated by SAR to respond to the health needs of affected persons. A large tent donated by SAR will be used by MDM to set up a health center near Ilha Chiloane. The estimated replacement value of SAR-donated goods is $180,500. (Note: This figure is included in the $3 million figure listed in the table on page 5.) According to USAID/DART, seed procured by World Relief with USAID/OFDA funding is already en route from suppliers in Zimbabwe. Seed and hand tool packages are to be distributed in areas where a second season harvest could be successful if families are able to re-plant as floodwaters recede.
USAID/DART's primary focus now is assessing the short-term relief and rehabilitation needs in the region and reviewing proposals from NGOs. USAID/Maputo staff are also gathering information on the impact of the floods on the economy, trade, and tourism in Mozambique.
On March 21, USAID/DART team members met officials from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the issue of information and coordination for the disaster response. OCHA informed USAID/DART that it now has additional staff and has decided to leave them in place for an indefinite period of time. Among the new staff is a Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist who is consolidating and verifying all information gathered to date by WFP, the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC). It also is collecting rapid assessment forms from all NGOs and GRM offices that are using them.
When complete, this system should generate a fuller picture of the overall situation that will include specific locations and numbers of affected populations, available medical and water supplies, and organizations providing assistance. An initial product is expected in one week.
USAID/DART's water/sanitation team met with representatives from the World Bank, the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the GRM's National Water Authority (DNA) representatives on March 21. The team reported that the meeting confirmed the lack of information about donor and NGO activities in the water/sanitation sector. The team reported that there is plenty of funding available and that international NGOs, such as Save the Children (SCF)/UK and Oxfam, are providing sub-grants to local NGOs.
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Response: DOD reports that improvements in road and rail systems have led to a marked decrease in the need for U.S. air assets. However, helicopter support from Beira is still required in the near term.
OCHA, USAID/DART, and WFP are currently seeking to contract out civilian helicopters to replace DOD helicopter support.
The last DOD helicopter supply distribution missions will be linked to the arrival of civilian helicopters.
Local Response: The national roads administration 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 New Zealand Government has provided over $200,000 for relief efforts in Mozambique. The funds will support aerial demining surveillance and reconstruction efforts The European Union (EU) has reportedly approved $90 million for disaster response for Mozambique, while another $1.4 million is in process, for a total value of $162 million.
The Japanese government also has provided a $4.65 million grant to support bridge rehabilitation and food aid.
British military helicopters in Mozambique are reportedly beginning a phased withdrawal. Britain is leaving 10 other helicopters in country for relief operations.
The Dutch Development Cooperation has appropriated $8.7 million for aid for Mozambique.
According to OCHA, two major coordination meetings for sustainable recovery and vulnerability reduction have been scheduled; one in Rome in April (focused on grants and emergency matters only) and another one in Paris in June, which will focus on long-term development.
OCHA is targeting about 350,00 people in Mozambique, including 200,000 who lost their homes. OCHA will soon issue an updated transitional appeal covering the six-month period through September 2000.
The USAID/DART and USAID Mission indicate that there are sufficient supplies of relief commodities in country to provide for needs; however, logistical constraints such as lack of road access, fuel, and vehicles are hindering delivery/distribution of essential relief supplies, as well as comprehensive damage and needs assessments.
The Commercial Farmers Union reports significant damage to coffee crops, and the Cotton Producers Association reports up to 28,000 hectares (or $3.75 million worth) of this year's crop may be destroyed.
USAID/Harare reports that three key organizations are taking the lead on central disaster management, coordination, and information sharing. These groups include the UNDP, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO), and the Government of Zimbabwe's (GOZ) Department of Civil Protection.
NANGO, an umbrella organization for local NGOs, has identified the rehabilitation of homes, clinics, and schools; reconstruction of roads; and resurrection of health and sanitation facilities as the highest priorities. NANGO is in the process of mapping the location of affected populations and intends to establish a trust for the collection of funds to enable NGOs to carry out projects in affected communities.
According to OCHA, the UN Disaster Management Team (DMT) recently deployed three teams to the affected areas in order to assist civil protection teams comprised of district authorities, NGOs, and representatives from the private sector in assessments and data collection. Preliminary findings suggest that about 900 persons need attention in Beitbridge district (Matebeleland South province). This district is facing problems with poor water and sanitation services and there is also a risk of malaria outbreak due to stagnant water.
OCHA reports that an additional 100 or more families are homeless in Chirumhanzu district (Midlands province), and about 1,000 families are affected. In Manicaland, 45 persons are confirmed dead, and an estimated 3,000 people are homeless.
The UNDMT team noted that 80,000 liters of diesel and 20,000 liters of fuel are required in Chipinge. An acute shortage of medicines were also observed.
A World Bank team is visiting Manicaland province to assess how they could assist with the rehabilitation of communications in the affected districts. The team is working with the UNDMT in this effort.
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 USAID/Harare, as people begin to return home, the response priority is shifting from more immediate emergency relief requirements to medium/longer-term infrastructure rehabilitation to facilitate access to affected areas for provision of relief commodities and community reconstruction activities.
A recent USAID/DART assessment from the south-central city of Fianarantsoa to the east coast port city of Manakara revealed that food security and road/railroad repair are critical issues for this zone. If the railway is not fixed quickly, the inability to transport cash crops to market will affect the livelihoods of villagers, compromising their capacity to recover.
A health sector committee, comprised of staff from the Government of Madagascar (GOM) and international organizations, has organized four teams to assess conditions in the southeastern, eastern, and western areas of the country. A USAID/DART field officer and a water/sanitation specialist are participating in two of these team assessments.
On March 22, WFP reported that a WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment was scheduled to begin this week.
OCHA reported March 20 that 500,000 have been affected in Madagascar, including an estimated 42,000 who are in need of immediate assistance.
The GOM's National Disaster Unit (CNS) now estimates there are approximately 22,158 people displaced from their homes, with some 132, 592 in need of relief assistance. The CNS reports that some 200 people have died as a result of the storms.
Recent assessments conducted by USAID/DART and USAID/Gaborone staff suggest that floodwaters have diminished throughout the country, although light rains continue. At present, there are no new or increasing problems or imminent disasters due to the flood situation.
Additionally, no significant outbreaks of water-borne or vector- borne diseases due to the floods have been reported. However, monitoring of disease outbreaks needs to continue.
The two-person USAID/DART team conducted assessments in severely affected locations (including Francistown, Matsiloje, and Bobonong towns) and met with various local and international personnel. In Francistown, the team observed that most of the damaged homes were poorly constructed and collapsed during the heavy rains. USAID/DART reports that some assessed areas sustained crop failure from flooding.
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 reports 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.
According to USAID/DART, the GOB's National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) has identified a need for more tents and is reportedly planning to purchase 3,800 tents in the near future. The USAID/DART field officers observed that tents provided by the GOB have been set up in many flood-affected sites. The NDMU expects to retrieve these tents after the rains stop, stockpiling them for future disasters.
According to USAID/DART, the GOB responded to the disaster quickly and effectively, lessening the impact of the floods. The GOB has already repaired damaged water systems and provided water sources in most assessed areas.
During the team's visit, many health posts were open and appeared to have sufficient medicine for basic needs. (Earlier assessments conducted by staff from the GOB and the UN suggested that health posts were closed in isolated locations.) The prevalence of diarrhea cases also appeared to be declining.
Staff from the NDMU, USAID/DART, and the UN expect to jointly assess Maun town, located in the northeast, soon. The staff will also assess damage to water and sanitation systems, roads, agriculture, and health clinics in the Ghanzi area.
According to initial NDMU reports, the flooding has affected 73,000 people in Botswana.
Extensive flooding has severely affected the northeastern parts of South Africa and resulted in displacement of several small but isolated populations.
Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)
Country/USG Agency Activities funded/Amount/Date
USAID/OFDA Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency relief activities $25,000 2/7
USAID/OFDA Grant to WFP for the provision of relief commodities and logistical support. $450,000 2/14
USAID/OFDA Grant to Save the Children/U.S. for emergency health initiatives in Gaza Province, for approximately 55,000 beneficiaries. $132,000 2/25
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. $85,000 3/1
USAID/OFDA Grant to Airserv for support to rescue operations and air transport. $1,000, 000 2/29
USAID/OFDA Additional support for search and rescue and emergency relief operations $3,000,000 3/1
USAID/OFDA Local procurement of emergency food aid $1,000,000 3/6 USAID/OFDA Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits $20,307 3/15
USAID/OFDA Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits $30,901 3/6
USAID/FFP Emergency food relief $7,000,000 3/6
DOD/PKHA Transportation of relief commodities $21,000,000 3/13
USAID/OFDA Additional support for emergency relief operation $100,000 3/14
USAID/OFDA Grant to CARE for seeds and tools $113,000 3/16
USAID/OFDA Grant to World Rlief for seeds and tools program targeting 26,260 families in Gara province $700, 000 3/16
USAID/OFDA Procurement of emergency sanitation systems $25,000 2/16
USAID/OFDA Grant to CRS to assist flooded areas $25,000 2/13
USAID/OFDA Grant to South African Red Cross for emergency supplies $25,000 2/17
USAID/OFDA Grant to Zimbabwe Red Cross for emergency supplies $25,000 3/1
Total USAID/OFDA subtotal $6,656,208
Total USAID/FFP subtotal $7,000,000
Total USAID $13,656,208
*Total DOD $37,600,000
Note: A Presidential Drawdown Authority of up to $37.6 million has been authorized.
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.
An estimated 2 million people have been directly affected in the southern Africa region due to the flooding. The number of deaths in Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe is now estimated at 800. This figure is expected to increase once assessments are completed.
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.
Have a question or comment about USAID or the USAID website? Visit our to find the appropriate resource. The online version of this document contains a map showing the affected areas Past Factsheets can be obtained from the USAID web site at: http://www.info.usaid.gov/hum-response/ofda/situation.html