Floods and heavy rains destroy almost 10,000 homes in Botswana

Gaborone (dpa) - The Botswana government Friday appealed to the international community for help after heavy rains which have pounded the country since the beginning of the year destroyed almost 10,000 homes, leaving about 60,000 people homeless.

Five people died when the walls of their homes collapsed on them and two have drowned in flood waters.

''They were traditional village houses, built of mud, dung and with little foundation,'' director of the Disaster Preparedness, Dineo Mogwe, said at a press briefing in the office of President Festus Mogae.

Mogwe said up to 9,776 houses had been affected. Three bridges have been washed away and roads in the capital of Gaborone and other centres have been seriously damaged.

''The destruction is widespread and enormous. Roads and bridges have been destroyed,'' Mogae said after a tour of some of the affected areas in the south and east of the country.

Mogae appealed to the international community to assist the government to meet the shortfall in tents, blankets and food for the homeless. He said after an initial period in schools and community centres, the homeless would be accommodated in tents.

Although the local and international community have provided some foodstuffs, blankets and tents, more were needed.

''We still need 20,000 baskets of basic foodstuffs, 6,500 tents and 59,000 blankets,'' Mogwe said.

He said Germany has donated 500 tents and 3,000 blankets, the European Union 650 tents, 5,000 blankets as well as emergency kitchens and first aid facilities.

The weather forecast is intermittent thunderstorms running into April. dpa dl AP-NY-02-18-00 1145EST

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/18/2000 11:45:59


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