1. Emergency Situation
Continuous torrential rains falling in southeast Africa since December were compounded by the formation of a sub-tropical cyclone in the Mozambique Channel. This cyclone struck Botswana during the second week of February, resulting in the heaviest rains seen in the country in 30 years. The rains caused the rivers in the heavily populated southeastern portion of the country to flood, and made major roads in all areas of the region impassable. In particular, roads leading from the capital of Gaborone have been flooded, cutting the city off from surrounding areas. Furthermore, land transportation has been paralyzed as railroads in the region have been severed in several places. The rains have affected some 10,000 households and 60,000 people, and over 34,000 people are in need of such items as food, shelter, tents and blankets. Crops in the area have also been severely damaged.
2. Response of the Government of Botswana
The government has formed a national disaster taskforce under the president, approved payment of $700,000 in emergency funding, and dispatched military and police units to engage in relief operations while continuing with rescue and restoration activities. On February 10, the Foreign Minister gave an explanation of the flood situation to diplomatic corps and international agencies stationed in Botswana. At the same time the minister made a request for tents, blankets, food supplies, etc., for the flood victims.
3. Response of the International Community
(1) Germany: 500 tents (10-man), 4,000 blankets
(2) Norway $50,000
(3) U.K. $30,000
(4) UNOCHA $30,000
4. Response of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICA
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the request for emergency relief from the government of Botswana, and after consultations with the Ministry of Finance, authorized provision of the following items through JICA:
Relief supplies (from the JICA warehouse in the U.K.):
Tents (6-man) 40
Estimated cost of relief supplies: approximately 11 million
Transport schedule: Departure from London: 8:25 p.m., March 1
Arrival in Johannesburg: 9:05 a.m., March 2
The supplies are scheduled to be flown from Johannesburg to Botswana the afternoon of March 3 (local time).
5. Additional Remarks
Since its independence in 1966, Botswana
has maintained a democratic government based on a multi-party system and
implemented sound nation-building measures. It is currently one of the
more politically stable countries in southern Africa.
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