Heavy rainfall triggers flood alert in southern Africa – UN

Photo: Djampa

21 January 2011 – Five countries in southern Africa have issued flood warnings following unusually heavy rainfall throughout the region, the United Nations humanitarian office reported today.

Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have forecast that serious flooding could affect tens of thousands of people, and damage infrastructure, crops and homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update.

Floods could also lead to outbreaks of water-borne diseases, such as cholera, which is endemic in the region, as well as increased cases of malaria because the mosquitoes that spread the disease breed rapidly in stagnant water. Already, some 12,000 people have also been affected by floods in Namibia.

In South Africa, more than 6,000 people have been displaced and an estimated 40 have lost their lives to flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes, according to official figures.

National, regional and international partners are mobilizing to provide support to governments to respond to the flood emergency when required, according to OCHA.


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UN aid agencies on alert for potential floods in Southern Africa

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