Nearly $89 million needed to respond to floods in Southern Africa – UN
The international relief aid community is seeking nearly $89 million to help hundreds of thousands of people in flood-hit parts of Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
The appeal aims to respond to floods that have destroyed thousands of homes, devastated crops and left some 449,000 people in immediate need of humanitarian assistance. With fears that continued rains could cause even worse flooding, the funds will also be used to prepare for a possible deterioration of the situation.
“The governments have done an excellent job. And they urgently need the support of the international community to ensure that all those displaced by the floods receive the food, shelter, water, medicine and other basic necessities they require to survive,” said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“We are only halfway through the rainy season and with more heavy rain expected, we must be able to assist potentially hundreds of thousands more people,” he added.
In Mozambique, the hardest hit country, the international humanitarian community requires more than $35 million to respond to the needs of 258,000 people affected by the floods, including more than 90,000 who have been displaced during the past month and are now living in resettlement areas.
In addition, about 90,000 hectares of crops have been swamped, destroying the livelihoods of many subsistence farming families. The funds will be used to support the relief effort being led by the Government of Mozambique by providing vital food, water and sanitation supplies, shelter, family kits, medicines and education materials.
In Malawi, international partners are seeking about $17 million as a result of heavy rains and subsequent floods that affected more than 152,000 people. Already more than 700 cholera cases have been reported and the situation will likely worsen in the coming weeks, OCHA warned.
Nearly $18.5 million is needed in Zambia to respond to the needs of more than 20,000 affected people. Floods have caused extensive damage to infrastructure and ruined large areas of crops, which could drastically reduce this year's harvest in many areas.
International responders in Zimbabwe are seeking nearly $15.8 million following localized flooding that began in mid-December 2007, affecting more than 15,000 people. The Government is leading the response to the floods with support from humanitarian partners, who have already distributed shelter items, food, water and sanitation supplies.
The flood-affected regions in the four countries have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, and OCHA noted that the displacements and losses caused by floods will have deeper consequences on HIV-affected households by disrupting health services.
“Despite the scale of these floods, the governments and the international humanitarian community have so far prevented this crisis from becoming a catastrophe,” said Mr. Holmes. “Without additional funds, we might not be able to cope if the situation does get worse – and that would leave large numbers of people at greater risk,” he added.