Like the previous season, the 2019/20 season has thus far been marked by an unusual dichotomy of severe drought and flooding in the southern Africa region (Figures 1 and 2).
October to December 2019 was one of the driest seasons since 1981 for southern Zambia, northern and western Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique, as well as parts of South Africa, northern Botswana, and western Namibia (Figure 3).
This season’s dryness is having a compounding effect on the previous season’s drought conditions in areas such as south-eastern Angola, north-eastern Namibia, northern Botswana, southern Mozambique, southern Zambia, and northern Zimbabwe.
In contrast, October to December 2019 was one of the wettest seasons since 1981 for northern Tanzania, northern Madagascar, parts of DRC, and western Angola (Figure 3). In parts of northern and eastern Republic of Congo (ROC), heavy flooding in late 2019 resulted in significant crop damage and a serious food crisis estimated to affect over 100,000 people.
In northern and central Madagascar and Mozambique, as well as parts of Tanzania, DRC, and Angola, high rainfall continued in January 2020 and there have been reports of flooding. Although predominantly dry, parts of western Zimbabwe and southern Zambia have also experienced flash flooding.
In Mozambique, more than 58,000 people were affected by heavy rains and flooding in January, primarily in Zambezia, Cabo Delgado and Sofala provinces. In February, heavy rainfall increased the levels of the Búzi, Púnguè and Zambéze rivers, causing further flooding and damage in the central provinces of Sofala and Manica.