Botswana

Red Cross responds as heavy rains ravage the central district

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Priding itself as always being the first to respond to disasters, the Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) lived up to its reputation as staff and volunteers of the National Society extended a helping hand by embarking on a full scale disaster relief operation that aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to those affected, during the recent heavy rains that caused widespread havoc in the Central part of Botswana leaving hundreds of people homeless.

Results of a rapid vulnerability capacity assessment carried out by BRCS revealed that the rains affected more than 1006 family members from 223 households in the greater Central District that includes Dukwi, Lephashe, Zoroga, Tsokootshaa, Nata, Tutume, Senete, Marapong, Ditladi, Sowa, Mabesekwa, Natale and Shashemooke villages. Dwellers were left vulnerable as the rains ravaged and collapsed the already weak mud house structures built in some areas. Fields were swept away while livestock suffered the wrath of these strong showers and winds. As the rain poured heavily for days, the ground and roads turned in to impassable streams leaving some areas inaccessible to external services and assistance. Trained BRCS volunteers rallied around the affected communities and assisted them with disaster relief materials that had been prepositioned throughout the country in 2012.

The BRCS staff and volunteers provided humanitarian assistance to most urgent cases of distress. A total of one hundred and forty six (146) family tents, 102 kitchen sets, 150 tarpaulin tents, 105 blankets, 200 mosquito nets, 200 bars of soap and 60 shelter tool kits were distributed on the spot to arrest immediate needs and vulnerabilities as identified from the assessment. Preparedness and safety messages during these torrential rains were also disseminated and shared with the affected population whilst First Aid was rendered to casualties in need. “At this point, we have managed to reduce vulnerabilities and stabilize the situation in some areas, but we continue to pre-position relief stock and our volunteers are on stand-by as more rains are expected in the coming weeks. The Red Cross community puts emphasis on preparedness as opposed to response since it has proven to be cheaper,” said BRCS Secretary General- Ms. Mabel Rammekwa.

BRCS, as a statutory body auxiliary to public authorities, is currently working with local authority structures at both community and district level to ensure that human dignity is restored amongst the affected individuals. The National Society appeals to the nation at large and the business community for donations and resources to assist those affected by this disaster. Further appeals are made mostly to the youth to join the Red Cross and volunteer, since volunteerism is an investment and a public good that saves lives.

For further information please contact:

The Marketing and Communications Department

Botswana Red Cross Society Ms. Kefilwe Batsalelwang Tel: 395 2465 and 72517995 Email: kefilwe@botswanaredcross.org