1 May 2009
IFRCHeavy rainfall since the middle of February has caused widespread flooding in Angola, displacing more than 80,000 people from their homes. A British Red Cross household economic security (HES) team was deployed on 1 May to assess the situation and work out how families can best recover.
The UN estimates 220,000 people have been affected by the floods, with 24 people reported dead due to drowning, collapsing homes or attacked by displaced crocodiles and hippopotamus.
Joy Singhal, HES delegate, said: “Flooding in Angola is a recurring problem, but this is one of the severest floods in many years. We will be working in two of the worst affected regions, Cunene and Moxico.”
So far, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has reached 2,000 families, mainly with food relief, but getting aid to those affected is proving difficult because of logistical problems.
Linda Hitchcox, HES delegate, said: “The area we are going to hasn’t really recovered from many years of civil war – it’s a chaotic situation. The rains are expected to last till the end of May, but it will take longer for the floodwater to recede. People will remain in camps for some time to come. Moxico is also an area affected by mines, which have been displaced by the floods.”
This is the first time that the HES team has been deployed – it is a new approach developed by the British Red Cross to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible following a disaster.
Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster relief manager, said: “It’s about making smarter decisions when it comes to relief, looking at the context the household is facing and working with them to identify ways to cover their vital needs in a way that helps their future recovery.
“We also want to help families meet their social and cultural needs. Sometimes after a disaster people can adopt damaging coping mechanisms. For example, a family may end up selling their cow, which is their main source of income, because they need to pay for a funeral. We will work with families so they can avoid damaging their long-term prospects. However, if people have positive contributions and ideas then we may support them with a cash grant so they can get moving with their own recovery.”
More about our emergency response work