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21 July 2011

In Brief: Southern Africa floods cause highest death toll in recent years

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN - Flood waters in Madagascar after Cyclone Bingiza struck the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar on 14 February 2011

JOHANNESBURG, 21 July 2011 (IRIN) - The death toll in southern Africa during the 2010-2011 rainy season (December-May) was “markedly higher” than in recent years, with 477 people killed, compared to seven during the same period in 2009-2010, and 212 in 2008-2009, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In terms of fatalities, Angola was the most acutely affected country, with 234 killed, 67 missing and 204,000 displaced, followed by Namibia with 104 deaths and South Africa with 91, OCHA’s Regional Office for Southern Africa said in its Overview of the 2010-2011 Rainfall Season.

“In the case of Namibia and South Africa, the high fatality rate is mainly due to the fact that flooding occurred in areas that do not usually experience flooding, while for Angola, there are indications that southern and western Angola received significantly higher rainfall than usual,” the report said.

About 708,000 people in the region were affected by floods and storms, with an estimated 314,361 displaced. During the 2008-2009 flood season nearly twice this number were affected, but the death toll was half as much.