Madagascar + 2 more

Britain sends help as floods hit Madagascar

With aid to Mozambique in full swing, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) today announced further assistance - this time to help flood victims in neighbouring Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

The floods, which have laid waste to vast areas of Mozambique, now look set to affect other countries in the region, with an estimated 500,000 people thought to have been made homeless.

International Development Minister George Foulkes said it was important to act quickly if more lives were to be saved. "We are very distressed to receive reports that Madagascar has also been hit badly by the rains. We have reacted quickly, providing help to organisations which are already on the ground, and today I can announce that we are giving a further £1.3 million - in addition to the assistance we have already given to Mozambique."

Dr Mukesh Kapila, Head of DFID's Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department, said funds would support relief efforts of organisations on the ground.

Speaking from the capital Maputo, where he is leading an assessment mission to gauge the extent of the damage caused by floods in Mozambique, Dr Kapila said "This is an immediate response, and we are currently in the process of getting a more detailed assessment of the damage. We stand ready to respond as soon as that is available."

The funds announced today will support the relief efforts of UNICEF and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), which has launched an appeal for the region. £300,000 will go to UNICEF, to help provide safe water, sanitation and health services in Madagascar. £1 million has been allocated for IFRC, to provide water, shelter and essential relief items, as well as rebuilding homes damaged by floods. A quarter of this will be focused on Zimbabwe, with the remainder to back up relief work in the whole region.

DFID's total response to the crisis now stands at £8.2 million.