Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And some here too......

Over 100 dead, thousands displaced in African floods
Saturday March 28, 2009 - 10:00 EDT

Southern African countries have been hit by the worst floods in years, killing more than 100 people and displacing thousands, as a tropical storm threatened to bring more pain on the weekend.

As Mozambique braced for the arrival of a strengthening tropical storm Izilda, record river levels across the region threatened to exacerbate floods which have already affected hundreds of thousands of people.

Namibia's Government declared a state of emergency last week in areas where floods have affected more than 350,000 people, 13,000 of whom were displaced, according to numbers released by the United Nations.

Another 160,000 people have been affected in Angola.

The Zambezi River, along Namibia's north-eastern Caprivi Region, rose to 7.8 metres this week, its highest level in 40 years, before slightly dropping.

"We have large areas submerged by water and access to several villages is cut off," Caprivi governor Leonard Mwilima said.

Namibia's flood coordinator Erastus Negonga said the death toll stood at 112. Nearly 200 schools have closed, while one hospital and 19 clinics remain cut off due to floods.

In Zambia, 21 districts have been affected by flooding and the army has been called in to assist the worst affected region of Shang'ombo, where they are also helping reconstruct a bridge connecting it to the rest of the country.

"The Zambia Air Force has been engaged to transport food and fuel to the affected districts," said Davies Sampa, permanent secretary in the vice-president's office.

In northern Botswana, rain has caused the Okavango, Zambezi and Chobe rivers to swell, leaving 430 people displaced and submerging eight villages.

Last year, heavy rains in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi caused flash flooding in Mozambique that displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed almost 100,000 hectares of crops.

Mozambique is no stranger to weather-related disasters. In 2000 and 2001 about 700 people were killed in one of the country's worst floods when torrential rains hit the south-eastern African country.

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