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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

16 January 2008

Severe Flooding in Southern Africa



Heavy rains since mid December and from 8 through 11 January have caused severe flooding in Mozambique. Within the Zambezi watershed, the Cahora Bassa reservoir had reached very high water levels and was discharging 6 600 cubic meters per second. The flooding has affected about 72 000 people, 30 000 of whom have been evacuated. Early estimates from the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture report that nearly 90 000 hectares of land have been affected by these floods. The worst hit areas are in the Zambezi river valley, including several tributaries of the Zambezi River in parts of Manica, Sofola, Tete and Zambezia Provinces. Waters have reached last year’s levels and continue to rise. Heavy rains are in forecast for the next six days (USGS/NOAA) and the situation requires continued close monitoring.

Serious flooding and related deaths are also reported due to heavy rains in Zimbabwe (Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, northern parts of Midlands, Mashonaland West, and parts of Mashonaland Central). Over 8 000 people have been affected in these areas (OCHA Situation Report 9 Jan. 2008). In Zambia, excessive rains in the usually dry south have caused serious flooding in the Mazabuka area affecting 117 households. In Malawi, very heavy rains in the first week of January caused some localized flooding in the southern areas including Mzimba, Dedza, Mangochi and Chirdzulu districts. Damage assessment is underway with a report expected shortly.

For the affected parts of the region, farmers are in urgent need of seeds for replanting during this main annual cropping season.

See map: Source – OCHA http://www.reliefweb.int



For additional information and updates:
1. For updates on Situation Reports see OCHA http://www.reliefweb.int
2. Daily estimated rainfall for the past six days and forecast for next six days (Focus - Southern Africa - Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe) from: USGS/FEWSNet Africa Data Dissemination Service http://earlywarning.usgs.gov/adds/imgbrowses2.php?image=p6&extent=af
3. Daily estimated rainfall for past 33 days NOAA Climate Prediction Center:
from: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/fews/rfe.shtml
4. For recent map of flooding see Dartmouth Flood Observatory http://www.dartmouth.edu/~floods/index.html
5. Recent maps from UNOSAT: http://unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/asp/prod_free.asp?id=41