Botswana + 2 more

UNICEF fears worst not over for flood-affected Southern Africa

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UNICEF fears that the worst may not yet be over for the flood devastated regions of Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Tropical storms, severe malnutrition and disease outbreaks threaten across the region.
"About 22,800 children under 5 are at risk of severe malnutrition" warns Ian MacLeod, UNICEF Emergency Co-ordinator in Mozambique. "After the floods devastated the harvests, many people have been left without quality food for the past two weeks".

Limited air transportation is hindering the delivery of relief supplies to isolated areas, particularly in the Limpopo River valley.

UNICEF is appealing for $2 million to provide urgent relief to the thousands affected by the flooding in Mozambique. An estimated 300,000 people are in need of urgent assistance, including 60,000 children.

An aerial view shows houses and other buildings half-submerged in a flooded landscape in the province of Gaza, one of the regions most severely affected.

Some 15,300 of the worst affected in Mozambique are pregnant women; approximately 4,600 of these women are due to give birth within the next 3 months. These women require urgent attention to ensure safe delivery. Even under normal circumstances, Mozambique has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world (1059 per 100,000 live births). UNICEF is seeking to expand the capacity of the health workers in the worst affected regions.

UNICEF's priorities are to rescue, shelter and care for the displaced; to provide essential health care and water/sanitation services; to prevent disease and malnutrition, prepare for possible disease outbreaks; and support the resumption of primary schooling.

Children who have been displaced by the flooding stand in muddy water in the province of Gaza, one of the regions most severely affected.

UNICEF is preparing for an emergency measles and malaria immunisation drive for children and tetanus for women throughout the Limpopo River valley. UNICEF is also providing medical supplies to prevent and treat cholera, malaria, dysentery and diarrhoea.

In Botswana, the flooding has affected 63,700 people, 10,000 of who are children under 5 and 18,000 are women. Although the expected cyclone from Mozambique has not materialised, tropical storms are feared in the coming days. Tents, food and medical supplies are the needed immediately. UNICEF is providing tents, blankets and monitoring malaria and diarrhoea outbreaks with WHO and UNDP.

In Zimbabwe, homes and bridges have been destroyed, fields have been devastated and some dams have collapsed. Southeastern parts of the country are the worst affected.

In Madagascar, UNICEF and partners are conducting a needs assessment of impact of Cyclone Eline. Shelter and rehabilitation are priority needs.

For more information on UNICEF, visit its web site at http://www.unicef.org