FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 1-2/00 - Botswana

Torrential rains from 7 to 9 February, which in southern areas were equivalent to three quarters of the annual precipitation, resulted in the worst floods in 30 years causing loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure and housing. The country's main road and railway have been cut in several places. Preliminary assessment indicate that 25 000 people has been affected and some 4 000 homes have been destroyed. An evaluation of the damage to agriculture is not yet available but crop losses are reported in several areas. The outlook for the 2000 cereal crops, mostly sorghum is uncertain. Precipitation during December and January had been generally adequate in cereal growing areas, but the excessive rains of February are likely to have negatively affected the developing crops.
The food situation is difficult for the populations who have lost their properties and for those who remain isolated by floodwaters. The Government is providing emergency assistance to people left homeless and has asked for humanitarian assistance, including tents, blankets and food rations. At the overall level, the food supply situation is stable reflecting the commercial import capacity of the country.