Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Floods, cyclones, devastate southern Africa: UN

Terra Daily, via Agence France-Presse: Nearly one million people in southern Africa have been been affected by floods, cyclones and heavy rains in the region, the United Nations said on Tuesday. "In total, local authorities estimate that 987,516 Southern Africans have been affected adversely by rains, floods and cyclones since October last year," the UN said in a statement.

"The hardest hit is Madagascar, where several cyclones as well as rains and floods have affected more than 332,000 people."

However Mozambique officials suspect some 350,000 people in the country have suffered from the effects of floods and cyclones, according to national disaster management institute director, Joao Ribeiro. "We are prepared for any emergencies and our teams are on maximum alert until the end of April."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs heavy rains in southern Africa were still expected, including in central Mozambique where rivers are already swollen after two days of intense rainfall last week.

Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have also been affected during the annual wet season, said the statement, adding that although the worst of the weather is over for another year, problems could persist until the end of April.

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