Prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, flooding and droughts, families in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean affected by these disasters flee their homes and seek shelter where their area is struck. This southernmost region of the African continent comprises of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Islands of Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius.
Water sources often get polluted or contaminated and stagnant water can increase the risks of disease outbreaks, such as cholera or malaria. A large number of people who practice mixed farming for a living, largely rely on rainfall. Consequently poor seasons and droughts in localised areas often cause acute food insecurity. Some of the frequently affected areas include southern Malawi, southern and central Mozambique, southern districts of Zimbabwe and most of Lesotho.
In 2013, heavy flooding affected Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe causing the destruction of homes, infrastructure and crops.
Mozambique has been the most affected by the recent incessant rains in the region. Over 250 000 people have been affected; with 190 000 of them still displaced in the most affected province of Gaza. The most critical situation is in the Limpopo valley, province of Gaza but it is deteriorating in other parts of the country too, especially in the province of Zambezia, where growing numbers of people should be evacuated to the safe areas.
The European Commission increased funding to the region in March 2013; a further €3 million will be provided to help address the impact of the floods in Mozambique. Access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities will be a priority for the new funding to help the flood affected people. Since the cholera outbreaks are endemic in Mozambique and the Gaza Region has a high rate of HIV and AIDS affected people, the support will also focus on health and protection.
The new assistance to Mozambique will reach 200 000 of the most vulnerable people through life-saving activities provided by the European Commission's partners on the ground.
Since 2008, the European Commission has invested in a bottom-up, community based disaster preparedness strategy aimed at building the resilience of communities themselves to cope with recurrent natural disasters.
Since 2012, the Commission has given about €40 million in humanitarian assistance to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region.