Botswana + 4 more

Southern Africa: Regional flood report

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JOHANNESBURG, 2 March (IRIN) - Intermittent rainfall continued in parts of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia on Thursday exacerbating severe flooding which has left tens of thousands homeless and claimed scores of
lives since early February.
BOTSWANA

Humanitarian Officials told IRIN on Thursday that so far 66,178 people had been displaced by the floods, with 13 fatalities reported. Officials said that there was "still an urgent need" for tents, blankets and sanitary facilities.

"The government has so far asked for 3,000 tents and 78,000 blankets," an official said. He added that there had also been requests for mosquito nets, water treatment and chlorination facilities to provide people with fresh drinking water.

The latest USAID report on the regional floods said the main concerns identified were the possible outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and malaria.

"Currently, the health situation is reported as stable, with functioning health facilities and sufficient stocks of necessary pharmaceuticals," USAID said.

It said that roads, bridges, and sanitation systems had sustained significant damage in the northeast, western, and central parts of the country. The government has so far distributed an estimated 25,000 food packages.

ZIMBABWE

The deputy director of the government's Civil Protection Unit, Sibusisiwe Ndhlovu, told IRIN that preliminary figures 182,400 people had been displaced by the floods.

The rains have also caused significant damage to crops, roads, bridges and railways across the country. Last week the government declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo and Matebeleland south.

"The news are getting is that the situation is terrible," Zimbabwe's financial weekly 'The Financial Gazette' said on Thursday. "Some fields were washed away and even those crops that were not washed away are soaked in water and are going to be damaged."

Bongani Konke from the Zimbabwe's Farmers' Union was quoted as saying: "We are still trying to assess the level of damage but there are some areas that we can't even get to because of the flooding."

The latest report of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodity Exchange said that the "inaccessibility of some areas due to the rains would adversely affect delivery and collection of agricultural commodities."

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) said on Thursday it would provide US $100,000 for flood relief in Zimbabwe.

NAMIBIA

Widespread rains and thunderstorms have been forecast over most of the central and southeastern parts of the country, according to weather reports on Thursday.

The town of Mariental, about 300 km south of the capital, Windhoek, was flooded on Wednesday, forcing authorities to evacuate several hundred people after water gushed from the nearby Hardap dam, the country's largest reservoir.

Mariental local authority spokesman, Catherine Boois, said that eighty families had been evacuated from the western section of the town.

Flooding in Mariental has also forced the closure of the main road link between Windhoek and South Africa. Media reports from Namibia said on Thursday that the rains had always washed away a section of the country's main railway line, disrupting train services to South Africa.

ZAMBIA

In Zambia, heavy flooding has forced the closure of the Livingstone-Sesheke road linking the southern and western parts of the country, 'The Post' reported on Thursday.

Gilbert Mululu, deputy works and supply minister was quoted as saying: "The road is parallel to the Zambezi river and water has been spilling on to it, thereby flooding it at three points."

Meanwhile reports also said that there had been some flooding in the areas near the Kariba Dam. The spillway gates of the dam were opened at the weekend.

[ENDS]

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