Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angola: Smart relief needed as floodwaters fall, via IPS: The flood waters are starting to recede as the rainy season ends for another year, but while the emergency is over in southern Angola, the long term outlook is bleak. Because of the water damage, many families have been unable to return to their villages and tens of thousands are clustered in IDP camps where there is a high risk of an outbreak of water-borne diseases due to pressures on sanitation. An increase in respiratory problems is also likely, particularly among children, as the country enters its "cacimbo" cool season.

More than 222,000 families were displaced by heavy rains and flooding which swept away houses, sank roads, ruined 228,000 hectares of crops and killed thousands of goats, cows and livestock. The provinces of Cunene and Kuando Kubango on Angola's southern border with Namibia, and Moxico in the east next to Zambia, bore the brunt of the water damage.

It is to these provinces that teams from the British Red Cross and the World Food Programme (WFP) have now been despatched to assess the seriousness of the situation and the threat posed to food security in Angola's poorest provinces. The challenges are vast: communities living in traditional family structures in remote areas, hundreds of kilometres from towns and relying mainly on subsistence farming now need food and need it fast.

...The impact climate change has had on the additional rainfall in this part of Africa is yet to be fully investigated but the extent and severity of the flooding in Angola and across the borders in Namibia and Zambia certainly caught the authorities off-guard….

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