Botswana Appeals For Emergency Aid To Contain Floods

Gaborone, Botswana (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, February 11, 2000) - Botswana President Festus Mogae and Foreign Affairs Minister Mompati Merafhe Thursday appealed to the international community for emergency aid to deal with the effects of floods that have caused deaths and severely disrupted life in the country.
An official press release Friday said Mogae is likely to declare the crisis a national disaster if the situation gets worse.

The release added that Botswana's capacity to deal with the flooding and its effects is being exhausted fast.

To complicate matters, the rains are still falling and therefore there is need to seek international emergency assistance for greater efficacy in the fight to save lives and alleviate suffering, the release said.

All the rivers and dams in Botswana have completely over-flowed their banks, causing severe flooding.

The floods have submerged roads, bridges and caused permanent and mud houses to collapse, killing people in the process. By Friday morning, three people had perished in the floods.

Reports from other parts of the country say that a number of schools have been closed. In Gaborone school children have been released from classes earlier than usual since the flooding started.

Residents of a number of submerged estates had to be given leave from their work places to enable them evacuate their houses.

Most affected has been Tlokweng, a populous residential area on the outskirts of Gaborone. The estate has been cut off from the capital after a bridge over the Notwane River was submerged.

The capital, Gaborone, was still cut off from Francistown with the police monitoring the submerged bridge on the road to the second city Friday.

The army has been called in to help.

By Wene Owino, PANA Correspondent

Copyright 1900 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed via Africa News Online.


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