Humanitarian officials are warning that
flooding in parts of southern Africa will get worse in the coming weeks. The
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has issued
the warning for Namibia's northeastern Caprivi region.
Cochrane is communications manager for the federation. From Johannesburg, he
spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about how the
flood regions are being monitored.
work very closely with a number of scientific partners, including NASA, the
United States space agency. And we're seeing now…this flooding around Lake
Liambezi, which straddles Namibia's Caprivi Strip and Botswana. So we're seeing
the water beginning to rise around there. And we're also see water in the flood
plains along the Zambezi River and the Kavanga River rise as well," he says.
is also reported further downstream. "Zambia (is) obviously in the midst of
some of its worst floods in many decades. And, as well, we're receiving reports
from Botswana and even now parts of Zimbabwe. So, we're seeing the water make
its way east," he says.
says if water levels rise too high, officials in Zimbabwe may open the flood
gates at a key dam and flood communities in Mozambique and Malawi.
new flooding is expected over the next four to eight weeks. But Cochrane says
it could last longer. "We're seeing reports again of rain in Angola, which is
feeding a lot of this, as well as rain in the DRC. Now if that follows the
patterns that we're expecting then it's four to eight weeks. If it's worse, we
could be seeing it going on for two or three months."
estimated that over 550,000 people in the region have been affected by the
floods, but because many areas are inaccessible, it's been difficult getting
accurate figures. There also continues to be a shortage of boats and
helicopters needed to ferry in emergency supplies. Governments have made
requests for logistical support.
The federation itself has reached
about 35,000 people so far in the flooded areas, providing them with water
purification sachets, tarpaulins, tents, mosquito nets, etc. It's also
providing sanitary facilities for some communities, which have been turned into
islands by the swollen Zambezi River.