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Cablegate: Angola Situation Report Number 01 - Flood Emergency Alert

P 260712Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4682
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY ROME
HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS LUANDA 000233

SIPDIS


AIDAC

USAID FOR DCHA/FFP PETERSEN, TAYLOR
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA LUU, CONVERY, ROGERS, AND DENYSENKO
USAID FOR AFR/SA LOKEN, COPSON, MACNAIRN
DEPT FOR AF/S, INR/GGI, PM/ISP
NCS FOR MELINE AND LEO
PRETORIA FOR DISKIN, HALE, WESSEL AND USDA/REYNOLDS
HARARE FOR PATTERSON, REED
ROME FOR FODAG NEWBERG, BROOKS
AFRICOM FOR JERRY LANIER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EAGR MI
SUBJECT: ANGOLA SITUATION REPORT NUMBER 01 - FLOOD EMERGENCY ALERT

1. SUMMARY: Heavy rains that began in late January following an
extended drought period have triggered severe flooding in Southern
Angola. In Cunene province on the Namibian border, 52,281 people
have been affected, 26,915 of them displaced. Six deaths have been
reported, with an unknown number of missing and injured. In
neighboring Kuando Kubango province to the east, 29,162 people are
reported displaced, along with eight deaths and four injuries.
Relief response provided by the Angolan authorities has focused on
Cunene's capital, Ondjiva, where major damage has occurred.
Emergency response delivery in Kuando Kubango has been slower in
that difficult-to-access province. Other provinces are also
suffering the effects of heavy rainfall, including Benguela, where
on March 13 eleven people were killed and 700 displaced following
severe storms. Several other provinces - Moxico, Uige, Zaire, Lunda
Sul, Lunda Norte and Kwanza Norte - are likewise at elevated flood
risk, due to recent heavy rains. END SUMMARY.

2. GOA RESPONSE TO DATE: The authorities have been relatively
successful in keeping the situation under control in Cunene and
Benguela; they have been less successful in delivering assistance to
more isolated communities in Kuando Kubango. In Cunene two camps
have been established for more than 14,000 displaced persons. Basic
health care is being provided through fixed health posts within the
camps and a mobile clinic for affected people on the outside. The
displaced have been supplied with food, water, kitchen kits,
blankets and shelter materials. Levees have been built to contain
the flooding. In Benguela, the provincial authorities and the Civil
Protection Service were able to react rapidly to incessant downpours
that occurred from February 5 - 20, which were accompanied by gusty
winds and flooding that resulted in 11 deaths and hundreds
displaced. According to the Head of the Civil Protection Service,
General Laborinho, the situation in Benguela is being capably
managed by authorities there. In Kuando Kubango, although
provincial authorities reported the arrival of some food and
non-food items, such as tents and emergency medicine kits, the
government's response overall has been slow, according to a report
by a UN technical assistance team that accompanied government
officials in the province last week. When asked, General Laborinho
confirmed that it has indeed been more difficult to initiate relief
operations in Kuando Kubango, due partly to the dispersed nature of
the flooding as well as the hazards posed by landmines in the
province.

3. INTERNATIONAL and NON-GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE: In the absence of
an appeal by the GOA, the international community's response has
been relatively muted. In Cunene, agencies of the United Nations
have been assisting authorities with establishment of camps and
managing the displaced population's health needs. A worrisome sign
has been a surge in cholera, with the province registering 43
percent of the 3,019 cases reported nationwide by WHO between
January 1 and March 9. UNICEF has been working with the Provincial
Health Department, the NGO ADPP, scouts and the Angolan Red Cross to
develop a social mobilization plan for the camps and affected
communities that focuses on malaria, cholera and basic hygiene.
USAID/OFDA financial support provided last year to UNICEF to fight
cholera has contributed to this effort through the provision of
supplies. In both Cunene and Kuando Kubango, some 10,000
impregnated bednets have been distributed. WFP has made available
320 metric tons of food from its stock, but it has not been
distributed as yet. Many of the displaced are being sheltered by
family and friends, while others are temporarily in schools and
being supported by donations from churches and community members.
The Baptist Mission reported sending 500 zinc sheets and 3,000
mosquito nets to Cunene to aid the recovery.

4. WEATHER OUTLOOK: The SADC Drought Monitoring Center has forecast
a high likelihood of above normal rainfall in central, southern and
eastern Angola during the period January to March 2008. The
continued rainfall means the flood threat will persist.

5. USG MISSION RESPONSE: The Mission Disaster Relief Officers have
been monitoring the situation and providing regular updates to the
Chief of Mission. Information has been sought from government, UN
agencies and local NGOs. In Cunene, USAID implementer - Research
Triangle Institute (RTI) - is working with the Provincial Department
of Public Health to monitor malaria trends with the view to
undertaking residual indoor spraying as circumstances warrant.

6. POSSIBLE AREAS FOR ASSISTANCE: The GOA, as conveyed by the Head
of its Civil Protection Service, welcomes assistance from outside
agencies. In addition to identifying short-term emergency
requirements in Kuando Kubango such as shelter materials, kitchen
kits, water/sanitation material, blankets, used clothes and food,
General Laborinho expressed a strong interest in USG support for
emergency preparedness training, risk mapping and public hazard
education. The GOA expects the emergency phase will last until May.
The government has publicly committed to resettling thousands of
families in homes in less flood-prone areas, once the rainy season
ends. Food insecurity will be a continuing worry, especially for
rural residents. In Cunene up to 37,000 cattle are reported killed
by the floods, and 74,000 hectares of agricultural fields destroyed.
In Kuando Kubango more than 2,070 fields have been ruined by the
heavy rainfall and by elephant and hippopotamus movements triggered
by flooding. OFDA technical assistance to assess potential recovery
strategies for agriculture, livestock and other livelihoods may be
warranted. Mission will continue to monitor closely this emergency
situation and apprise concerned Washington agencies of any
recommended USG intervention and assistance.

7. Mervyn Farroe is the Mission Disaster Relief Officer. He can be
reached at 244-222-641-008 (office) and 244-912-504-207 (mobile).
Gastao Lukangu is the Alternate Mission Disaster Relief Officer. He
can be reached at 244-222-641-131 (office) and 244-924-694-034
(mobile).

MOZENA

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