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Red Cross Raises Funding Appeal for Southern Africa Flood Victims

As the floodwaters continue to rise in parts of southern Africa, the International Federation of the Red Cross is launching a revised emergency appeal. It’s asking for more than $10-million dollars to assist over 300,000 people.

The worst hit countries are Mozambique and Zambia. But many have also been affected in Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Red Cross says heavy rains and some tornados have also hit Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.

John Roche is the operations coordinator for Africa for the International Federation of the Red Cross. From Geneva, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“We’re working on a protracted situation where not only have we been involved at a very…emergency response, early warning level on our preparedness, but we’re also responding now to the needs of those affected communities. And protracting that, of course, we will be assisting on a longer term these populations who have been affected,” he says.

In January, the federation issued a preliminary appeal for just over $7 million. “We had launched a preliminary appeal on the onset of the crisis and then having had time now to assess damage, we’re just more or less coming out with better calculations on what’s actually happening and how the situation is,” he says.

The response to the initial appear was poor, with the Red Cross receiving only 20 percent of the amount requested. It’s hoping that with updated information there will be a better response from donors. In the meantime, efforts to provide shelter, clean water and sanitation to those affected by the floods have continued.

Roche says the death toll has been relatively small because of early warning systems put in place.