Zimbabwe Flood Situation Report

  • Extensive damage to infrastructure and crops in Masvingo, Manicaland, south Midlands and Mat South; estimated 250,000 people affected
  • Most areas still inaccessible therefore assessments reflect certain amount of speculation
  • GoZ has declared a disaster and is expected to lodge a formal appeal with specific requirements within the next few days
  • Immediate acute needs (i.e. re-location to high ground, temporary shelter, food) appear to be being met adequately by GoZ
  • CARE proposes to address food and nutritional needs of affected populations in Masvingo and Midlands Provinces over the medium to long term, the extent to which will be quantified as access improves.


The following Situation Report attempts to summarize all information currently available to CARE Zimbabwe from a range of sources. Information available is incomplete as access to many areas is difficult or impossible. Sources include: CARE field staff, Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) Civil Protection Unit (CPU), GoZ field staff, USAID/FEWS USAID funded Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), SADC/NEWS The Southern African Development Community (SADC) National Early Warning System (NEWS), and UN agencies. Information at Provincial, District and local levels has been gathered largely by CARE field staff in conjunction with local CPU/GoZ officials, the media and other sources.


In what is now being called the country's "worst natural disaster...in living memory The Herald, front page, 25-2-00," an estimated 250,000 people have been affected by flooding and at least 62 people have died since tropical cyclone Eline swept into the country on February 22nd. Preceded by heavy rains, Eline caused major rivers, including the Limpopo, Save, Runde and Mutirikwi rivers to over-flow their banks, destroying homes and trapping large numbers of people on high ground. According to the CPU, initial estimates put the number of displaced persons at between 15,000 and 20,000. President Mugabe officially declared a state of disaster for four out of the country's eight Provinces: Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland and Matabeleland South.

The CPU is currently conducting a rapid national assessment exercise, in conjunction with the UN Disaster Management Team expected to be completed over the next few days. The GoZ is expected make an official appeal for assistance to the international donor community this week. According to the Deputy Director of the Civil Protection Unit, Mrs. Sibusisiwe, infrastructural damage could "run into the billions" of Zimbabwe dollars.

In addition to infrastructural damage, anecdotal feedback from District CPU officials indicates that Eline has destroyed a significant portion of smallholder crops in the affected Communal Areas Note: even before the arrival of Eline, the Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX) estimated the national acreage under cultivation, at 1.8 million ha, to be well below the decade average. According to FEWS, planting of maize in the Communal Areas was estimated to be "down by more than 30 percent compared with the 1989/90 - 1998/99 average." With the harvest season traditionally beginning over the next couple of months, those families who have lost all or much of their production may be facing serious food insecurity, soon. The Government has already begun to "source food from the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR)... to feed the affected people, The Herald, front page, 24-2-00". Specific impact on the SGR current capacity has not been attainable.


This section focuses on Districts within the declared disaster areas of Masvingo and Midlands Provinces. CARE staff, based out of offices in Masvingo and Zvishavane, have been working steadily since the onset of Eline to assess impact. However, reconnaissance efforts have been restricted due to the level of infrastructural damage, with roads, bridges, dams, telephone and power lines having been destroyed or damaged. The following summarizes the most up to date data available to CARE at local levels:

Masvingo Province

In Masvingo Province alone, an estimated 130,000 people have been directly affected by flooding or are at high risk. Nineteen people have died in the Province. Mutirikwi Dam, spilling for the first time in 19 years at 105% capacity, is increasing the risk of flooding downstream. The Masvingo-Beitbridge highway is submerged. A number of small, community dams have been destroyed, including 4 within CARE project communities.

Zaka District (1992 pop. 191,631)

  • Approximately 36,000 people have been affected (estimated 200 hh/ward x 30 wards @ 6 pax/hh) requiring food and other emergency assistance.
  • Four schools have been damaged (Zibwowa, Vhudzi, Muzinda, Zfvoushe) with one school completely submerged (Pasipanyoro)
  • An estimated 75% of crops have been destroyed in severely affected areas.
  • At least 6 deaths due to collapsing houses
  • Ten main bridges to the district centre have been destroyed.
  • General road infrastructure has been adversely affected.
  • Most telephone lines are inoperable.

Chiredzi District (1992 pop. ?)

  • Estimated 150,000 affected (25,000 hh @ 6 pax/hh) by flooding by Lundi, Save, Limpopo, Maoze, Bubi-Malilangwe & Samo rivers.
  • Estimated 7 tonnes of food required per day (23 tonnes currently sourced)
  • Five recorded deaths
  • Critical areas identifed: Malipati, Dumisa, Samu, Gwaivhi, Mugwisa, Muhlekwane & Chishinya
  • Over 1,000 people are displaced and at least 800 homeless.
  • Chiredzi school damaged
  • Chipimbi bridge washed away, Mutilikwi bridge damaged
  • Many areas not yet accessible

Mwenezi District (1992 pop. 101,350)

  • Lundi High School damaged
  • No further information yet available. Most areas not yet accessible and no communication networks available.

Chivi District (1992 pop. 157,280)

  • 10 people have died due to collapsing homes
  • approx. 180 people homeless ( 30 hh @ 6 pax/hh) near Sadzangwena School

Bikita District (1992 pop. 154,430)

  • 500 - 700 homes have collapsed
  • Bikita water pipe "under threat"
  • 18 school toilets destroyed
  • Material assistance requested: food & other items similar to other districts

Midlands Province

Mberengwa District (1992 pop. 182,530)

  • Approx. 300 people displaced when heavy rains destroyed the $120 million Mundi-Mataga dam, sweeping away homes and livestock downstream. Displaced currently sheltered at Mataga primary school.
  • Mberengwa DA phone lines down.
  • Mnene hospital & Mataga clinic drug supply critical

Zvishavane District (1992 pop. 82,640)

  • 30 homes destroyed across 7 villages.
  • Mwenene dam breached


Information available indicates that GoZ emergency civil and military service agencies, aided by relief organisations, appear to be meeting acute emergency needs (i.e. re-location to dry areas, temporary shelter, food). We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are prepared to move quickly based on more accurate information or specific requests.

CARE will seek resources to address medium to longer-term food and nutritional needs; and that these interventions will need to be geared up fairly quickly. Large numbers of people are believed to require food assistance (see point 3 above) and we will confirm the extent of the problem as access improves and more accurate assessments can be carried out. Interventions such as Child Supplementary Feeding and, in all likelihood the provision of a general food distribution are anticipated. CARE is also investigating requirements regarding infrastructure/sanitation rehabilitation (schools, latrines, bridges and roads, etc.). CARE has previous experience in the above sectors in Masvingo and Midlands Provinces and could implement such activities rapidly.