Madagascar + 3 more

Southern Africa - Floods Fact Sheet #13, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

New information is underlined.

Regional Overview

The South African Weather Bureau reports that the entire region is generally cloudy with isolated thunderstorms in Mozambique and Madagascar due to Tropical Depression Gloria. While thunderstorm activity is not as widespread as last week, the watersheds of the Save, Limpopo, and Zambezi rivers in Mozambique may continue to see greater precipitation.

The isolated thunderstorms predicted for Madagascar are not expected to produce significant additional amounts of precipitation. Heavy rains are predicted in South Africa until early next week.


Floodwaters: On March 13, the South African Bureau forecast three more days of rain over the flooded central and southern regions of the country. It also forecast heavy rain around Beira and Quelimane.

There have been reports that the Zambezi River is overflowing its banks in the Tete area. In addition, the Pungoe River has increased and is now considered a maximum alert area. The Save and the Buzi rivers are reportedly rising due to increased rainfall.

Press reports indicate that about 1,500 people living along the riverbanks have been evacuated to higher ground as a precautionary measure. Local authorities are warning residents not to return home due to potential flooding and health risks.

Health: On March 11, the U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, Brian D. Curran, the USAID/DART health team from the CDC, and USAID/DART cartographer conducted a one-day trip assessment mission to Macia and Chicumbane in Gaza province. They assessed health and water/sanitation conditions, services, and statistics available in accommodation centers.

The team met with staff from USAID/OFDA-funded Save the Children (SCF)/US in Macia. SCF/US is working in several accommodation centers in the district.

Four accommodation centers have been established in Macia for an estimated 23,000 people, including approximately 13,000 displaced persons residing around the centers. The team visited one of the four centers, with a reported population of 2,600.

According to the assessment team, food appeared to be plentiful at the center. The team also met district health officials, who reported that the main illnesses are malaria and diarrhea. Officials have requested additional malaria medication from Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and UNICEF.

The USAID/DART health specialists were informed that there are 51,000 people accommodated in Chiacalane center, mostly from the Chokwe area. The team observed that there is no immunization program for meningitis and measles. Basic medical equipment, such as syringes, cold chain, and vaccines, are lacking. The center also lacks mosquito bed nets.

A USAID/DART cartographer, who arrived last week, participated in the assessment mission. The cartographer used satellite-based data to survey point locations and coordinates for accommodation centers in Gaza province.

On March 11, Food for the Hungry International (FHI) reported that all health posts in Buzi were affected by the cyclone, suffering varying levels of damage. Health centers in Chibabva, Estaquinha, Inhamichindo, and Gurudja were affected by flooding. Many hospitals and hospital staff houses in the district have lost their roofs. A health post in Gurudja is reportedly under construction and is scheduled to open in June to serve a population of approximately 2,000.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports there are 52 unaccompanied children in Chiacalane center. Fifty-eight children have repatriated with their families spontaneously.

Food: The UN World Food Program (WFP) reports it has to date provided 2,089.4 MT of food to 364,868 people as of March 12, through its emergency operation. WFP has provided 786 MT of food to 172,750 persons in Gaza province.

On March 11, FHI reported food shortages in Maringa, a village in southern Sofala. According to FHI, there have been reports of people not receiving adequate food along the Buzi river in the Goonda and Estaquinha areas. FHI has received reports that a sizeable group of displaced persons at the Catholic mission at Novo Mambone is also not receiving food.

Sabie accommodation center in Maputo province is now accessible by road. As such, WFP plans to remove its Buffalo plane (a small two-engine cargo transport plane) from the area.

Non-Food: WFP is reportedly finalizing a distribution plan for 100,000 pots, pans, and other cooking utensils in camps and among other affected populations in Mozambique.

From February 15 - March 12, 372 tents, 10,200 blankets, and 335 house kits, and 90 rolls of plastic sheeting were reportedly provided.

Water/Sanitation: USAID/DART specialists observed that the water/sanitation situation in accommodation centers in Macia appears to be adequate. MSF is the lead NGO for water/sanitation in Macia.

USAID/DART observed refuse pits and latrines in the centers, although some latrines lacked sanitary slabs. OXFAM is reportedly addressing this issue.

Response Efforts: According to Reuters, aid flights operating from Maputo resumed on March 11, after two days of heavy rains.

Repairs of the main north-south highway are completed and have reportedly improved aid efforts. Trucks carrying 50 MT of food recently left Beira and are heading to the Save River valley.

Seven boats have distributed two tons of food to Buzi, reaching some areas not accessible by air.

According to Oxfam, information flow is a major problem in Gaza province. Some of the more remote towns in the province have reportedly not been assessed. Areas that are accessible in Gaza are receiving good coverage.

Sporadic incidents of looting have been reported in flood-affected areas. In addition, landmines from the country's civil war have been dislodged by the flooding and could pose a serious threat in affected areas.

Affected Numbers: The Government of Mozambique (GRM) estimates 1.2 million people have been affected by flooding. Of the total figure, 650,000 people are currently housed in 94 camps, and about 400,000 internally displaced persons remain outside of accommodation centers. An additional 335,000 people remain seriously affected. The southern provinces of Gaza and Inhambane provinces, along the Save and Limpopo rivers, were worst affected in the floods, the country's worst on record.

The GRM has reported more than 500 deaths due to flooding but, according to international agencies, the death toll is likely to climb once floodwaters recede sufficiently for assessments.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Response Update

The USAID/DART Press Officer situated in Beira plans to hold weekly joint DART/DOD press briefings for the media, NGOs, and other interested parties. The briefing will summarize activities over the past week, with an emphasis on accomplishments, people found/rescued, and relief goods moved.

On March 12, the USAID/DART press officer met with journalists based in Beira and set up field trips with the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Search and Rescue (SAR) team.

On March 11, USAID/OFDA-purchased World Health Organization medical kits capable of treating 30,000 people for 30 days arrived in Mozambique.

On March 11, three US Coast Guard (USCG) team members conducted a low-level aerial assessment mission to Beira via the Limpopo river delta. The team reported that flooding is still widespread, with the most severe flooding extending to Chokwe. The USCG team also met with Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC) at Beira airport. The USCG is now assisting with the coordination of boat operations in the Joint Logistics Operations Center (JLOC).

On March 11, the USAID/OFDA SAR team transported 1.5 MT of corn from WFP, three FHI personnel, and one reporter from Beira to Buzi. The SAR team will continue shuttling food aid and other relief commodities to the Buzi area.

On March 10, the USAID/OFDA SAR team transported more than three MT of food from Beira to Buzi for FHI. They also transported a medical team and two rolls of plastic sheeting for Medecins Du Monde to Ilha Chiloane, an island with a population of 1,200 (approximately 120 km south of Beira). People on the island reported 10 deaths directly attributable to storm-related injuries.

USAID/OFDA is planning to deploy three additional US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health and three water/sanitation experts, as requested by USAID/DART. On March 12, a program officer joined the USAID/DART.

The U.N. On-Site Operations and Coordination Center (OSOCC) and the CMOC are coordinating the logistics of response activities in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). USAID/DART members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are working with the OSOCC's Joint Logistics Operations Center to handle requests for transportation from the humanitarian community.
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Response:

On March 13, DOD-chartered flights delivered an estimated 40 MT of WFP high-energy biscuits from Pisa, Italy. The biscuits are already being distributed.

The US-deployed Joint Task Force (JTF) continues to assist moving supplies and materials into flood affected areas. A large-capacity helicopter recently arrived in Maputo and was met by Ambassador Curran and the media. The crew then departed for Palmera to load relief supplies and proceeded to displaced camps to offload cargo.

On March 14, JTF operations will include long-range deliveries of supplies to areas previously unreachable through helicopter transportation.

Local Response:

The GRM estimates that at least $250 million will be needed to repair infrastructure. The floods have reportedly destroyed 10,000 hectares of planted fields and claimed an estimated 30,000 head of cattle.

The GRM is coordinating a working group established to organize Mozambique's recovery and reconstruction program. The group consists of representatives from several GRM agencies, the European Union, the UN, and the World Bank, as well as officials from the US, Japanese, and South African governments. The GRM is urging donors to utilize local labor and resources whenever possible and to support the local economy.

International Response:

Information on donor activities and international response to date is available at

OCHA reports that a major effort involving UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization, and WFP is underway to bring relief to flood-affected people in remote areas.

On March 11, the Spanish Red Cross reportedly set up a field hospital to support IDPs at the Chiacalane center, but the team was unable to quantify health conditions at this time.

On March 11, the British government announced it will provide $19 million for the provision of water and health services, agriculture, and road rehabilitation. To date, the British government has provided $32 million to Mozambique.

The USAID/DART reports that the British royal navy has proposed using one of its warships for cargo duty. The ship would load 25 MT of relief supplies in Beira then travel south. The ship would eventually become a base of operations for helicopter operations in Machanga and Mabone.

Four British helicopters recently arrived in Beira airport and will reportedly assist in delivery of relief supplies and personnel for two weeks.

Currently, there are 18 helicopters based in Beira, including helicopters from the US, Germany, Malawi, and South Africa. There are reportedly 59 aircraft and more than 2,200 international personnel operating in Mozambique.

Aid agencies have delivered 129.75 MT of food as of March 9, and 210 relief personnel were transported to the field to assist with distribution. Aid personnel have evacuated 29 casualties to the second city of Beira as of March 9.


According to the latest UN and Government of Zimbabawe (GOZ) estimates, 100 people have died from the floods in Zimbabawe and 96,000 people have been directly affected. Among the affected are 20,000 IDPs who are temporarily sheltered in camps and available local facilities. As many as 500,000 are indirectly affected. (Note: According to earlier estimates and the international community, the population directly impacted by the floods was 250,000 - 300,000.)

According to USAID/Harare, urgent assistance is required in assessment of important infrastrucutural damage and rehabilitation needs. The mission does not expect food aid to be a major need and remains concerned about overall response coordination. Malaria is reported on the increase in affected areas.

The flooding has directly affected the provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matebeleland South, and Midlands, located in southern and eastern Zimbabawe. Extensive damage to crops and infrastructure were reported in all four provinces. A majority of the populations in affected areas is predominantly subsistence farmers.

Immediate needs identified by the GOZ include access to or rescue of people in isolated areas, evacuation of populations in vulnerable areas, and provision of immediate relief (food, water, shelter, healthcare, etc.) to displaced persons.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided an initial $25,000 through the U.S. Mission to support relief activities.


Preliminary assessments conducted by USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor (RA) indicates there are pockets of affected areas that need emergency water and food assistance.

In Morombe, located in southwestern part of the island, the RA observed 1,600 IDPs, including 600 in Morombe town and 560 in the four nearby villages. One third of the buildings in the area have been destroyed, and the remaining two-thirds have sustained some damage.

According to the USAID/OFDA RA, the Government of Madagascar (GOM) reports 22,000 cases of cholera in the country from March 1999 - March 2000 and 1,300 deaths. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that cholera figures are probably under-estimated.

According to USAID/Antananarivo, the WHO expects localized increases in cholera cases due to the flooding. Some cases have been reported in the western part of the island, including the Morombe area, but no cases have been reported in the northeast to date.

In Morondava, assessed by USAID/OFDA RA, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has reportedly purchased local food for delivery to 1,000 people and is educating affected populations about cholera prevention.

On the eastern coast, most of the damage appears to be from Cyclone Leon-Eline, and some rehabilitation activities are underway. However, other nearby areas are still flooded and at risk of cholera outbreaks.

On March 13, the USAID/OFDA RA visited Maroantstetra, a town located on the northeastern tip of the island, and flew over two areas in north central Madagascar. The advisor was informed that 22 houses destroyed and 136 people displaced in Maroantstetra. Damage to rice crops in both areas, the breadbasket for the island, was extensive. However, the RA observed that many families appeared to have adequate rice stocks.

Preliminary needs in areas assessed include: oral rehydration salts and cholera treatment equipment and supplies, including cold chain supplies. In the medium term, rehabilitation of roads, schools, and the main railroad is also required.

Supplementary feeding activities may also be necessary in the coming weeks due to serious crop damage.

The RA is expecting to remain in Madagascar an additional week. A USAID/BHR/FFP food officer will soon arrive in Madagascar. Further USAID/OFDA funding will be based on the RA's recommendations.

Several agencies are operational in Madagascar, including MSF/France, CARE and CRS. UNICEF, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and WFP are also operational in Madagascar.

WFP is planning to provide 25 MT of food to some 30,000 people in Mahanoro, one of the worst affected areas on the east coast, but has been delayed by the floods. Overall, WFP has 410 MT of food and 10.5 MT of high protein biscuits available in country, as well as 23 MT of medical supplies.

WFP has reportedly appealed for helicopters to distribute relief and food supplies, since many roads are flooded and most airports cannot handle large aircraft. WFP has chartered two aircraft from the government and has started airlifts to the east and northeast coastal coast flood zones.

According to the USAID/OFDA RA, WFP is organizing a taskforce on transportation and will present its logistics requirements soon. WFP is clearing roads to facilitate access to people cut off by flooding.

OCHA reports that blankets are needed for 850 displaced families, as well as soap, water purification equipment, and emergency medical kits for 10,000 people for the next three months. 20,000 packages of oral rehydration salts are also needed.

UNICEF is reportedly distributing health kits, blankets, water purification tables, and biscuits. MSF/France plans to provide 40 MT of equipment and supplies and 15 MT of high protein biscuits in the near future.

In Morondava, assessed by USAID/OFDA regional advisor, CRS has reportedly purchased local food for delivery to 1,000 people and is educating affected populations about cholera prevention.

A French naval carrier to is expected to provide six helicopters soon. The British government may also provide helicopters and boats soon. The EU has announced a road rehabilitation project and the Organization for African Unity recently provided $200,000 to help fund disaster relief.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided $25,000 to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the provision of safe drinking water to affected areas and to clear and rehabilitate important roads.

Cyclone Leon-Eline severely hit the East Coast of Madagascar on February 17 and passed through the country approximately 80 km north of Antananarivo. On March 2, Tropical Storm Gloria crossed through a similar portion of Madagascar.

According to the UN and the GOM's National Disaster Unit (CNS), the storms affected up to 600,000 people, including 10,000 homeless persons. An estimated 12,000 people have been cut off by flooding in remote corners of the island.

However, the USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor reports that, based on the initial findings of CNS experts, the GOM has already reduced the figure of total affected people to 400,000. Figures on people affected by Tropical Depression Gloria need to be re-assessed once road access is available.

The GOM has also reported that some 200 people have died as a result of the storms and has requested assistance in the following sectors: water and sanitation, food aid, and the rehabilitation of roads, bridges, health centers, and schools.
The CNS is currently coordinating relief operations through its regional and district committees.
· Results of a survey conducted by the CNS indicate that the districts on the east coast between Vatomandry and Mahanoro suffered severe damage. About 90 percent of cash and food crops were destroyed, 65 percent of houses were destroyed, and 75 percent of health facilities suffered damage.
· Floodwaters and landslides seriously affected access and movement of food and other commodities within the country, particularly in the west.

· A USAID/OFDA Field Officer has arrived in Botswana to assist with a flood assessment and response efforts in collaboration with USAID/Gaborone. A water/sanitation specialist will arrive March 14. Upon his arrival, the two-person team will begin assessments in areas most affected by the floods.

According to the Government of Botswana's National Disaster Committee, the northeastern part of Botswana was the worst affected area by flooding affecting an estimated 73,000 people and damaging secondary roads. Water and sanitation is a major concern due to contaminated water systems.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided $25,000 through USAID/Gaborone for the procurement of emergency sanitation systems.

South Africa

Extensive flooding has severely affected the northeastern parts of South Africa and resulted in displacement of several small but isolated populations.

To date, USAID/OFDA has provided $25,000 through USAID/Pretoria to the South African Red Cross for the supply of relief items to 3,000 displaced persons in the Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces.

Total USG Assistance in the Region (to date)

USG Agency
Activities Funded
Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency relief activities
Grant to WFP for the provision of relief commodities and logistical support.
Grant to Save the Children/U.S. for emergency health initiatives in Gaza Province, for approximately 55,000 beneficiaries.
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.
Grant to Airserv for support to rescue operations and air transport.
Additional support for search and rescue and emergency relief operations
Local procurement of emergency food aid (through WFP)
Procurement and shipping of WHO emergency health kits
Emergency food relief
Transportation and provision of relief commodities
Grant to Zimbabwe Red Cross for emergency supplies
Grant to CRS to assist flooded areas
Procurement of emergency sanitation systems
South Africa