Flash Update XI: Southern Africa Floods, 5 February 2015

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 05 Feb 2015


Madagascar has been receiving double its average rainfall since early January. These rains, coupled with the impact of Tropical Storm Chedza, which crossed the country on 16 Jan, have to date killed 74 people and almost 20,000 people remain displaced in accommodation sites. Nearly US$2.6 million has been mobilized to respond to the most urgent needs, but gaps remain, particularly in shelter and protection.

Much of the pre-positioned relief supplies of both Government and humanitarian partners have already been exhausted, severely weakening the capacity to respond to any new or worsening humanitarian situation. This is of concern, as joint teams are currently assessing reports of drought conditions with associated food insecurity and malnutrition in the south; and as the country enters the Feb/March peak of the cyclone season (a new low pressure system is currently forming in the Mozambique Channel, although it is still too early to predict its evolution).

The Government has appealed for national and international aid to rebuild damaged infrastructure and strengthen preparedness measures. The Humanitarian Country Team may also appeal for international assistance in the coming weeks to address emergency needs and replenish pre-positioned relief stocks.


Since the declaration of the red alert on 12 Jan, heavy rains and floods in Mozambique has affected almost 160,000 people. Disease outbreaks remain a concern as about 3,600 cases of malaria and 574 cases of diarrhoea have been reported in accommodation centres across the most affected province of Zambézia. Cholera is endemic to Mozambique, and cases (currently unrelated to the floods) are being reported and responded to. There are still significant gaps in the sectors of Food, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Shelter, and Logistics. Accommodation centers have begun to close as some return home while others are transferred to the existing relocation centers.


Preliminary data from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team assessments in the 15 affected districts indicate that 104 deaths have been recorded due to the floods in Malawi, with 65 people injured and 172 people still missing. Furthermore, the number of people displaced to temporary shelters increased to about 230,000, due to new information coming from recently assessed districts, such as Zomba Blantyre Rural and Mulanje. Figures are still being consolidated and cross-referenced.

Government and humanitarian partners are working on scaling up the response, mainly in life-saving activities, as well as enhancing inter-cluster coordination to ensure a timely and efficient response to the actual needs of the most vulnerable groups within the affected population. Government and partners will also speed up damage assessments, which will be linked to the displacement monitoring system in order to refocus humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions in the original locations of the displaced population. Furthermore, they have increased their capacities to ensure disaggregated data and that protection issues inform humanitarian action, particularly in the prevention of gender-based violence and associated protection concerns.

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