It’s a sunny day at Gweta, a small village in Botswana. Dipogiso Kelatlhegetswe bends down to clean her temporary shelter at an evacuation camp set aside by the Botswana Red Cross. Standing adjacent, her two children watch their mother maneuver the place they now call home.
“I never thought that rains would destroy my house. When it happened, I was worried about my children being homeless,” says Kelatlhegetswe, who together with her neighbours watched as their houses washed away by the heavy rainfall that poured into the village.
Botswana is experiencing a drastic weather change, resulting in torrential rains that have affected several parts of the country causing displacement of people, damage to property and a risk of an outbreak of water-borne diseases.
According to the nation’s Department of Meteorology Services, rainfall amounts range between 120-192mm, with a report of dams over spilling causing floods in several villages.
Since February, Botswana Red Cross volunteers have been working in remote areas hardest hit by the floods, including Gweta, to respond to the call of families who have lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods.
Villages like Gweta, Zoroga and Tsokotshaa were reported to have flooded affecting at least 422 households. The affected people were evacuated to Gweta Vocational Training Centre and Zoroga Primary school respectively.
“I was in trouble and felt helpless until the Red Cross intervened and built us a tent and provided my family with additional donations like blankets, a bucket, kitchen set, mosquito nets, mattress and toiletries for my family,” says Kelatlhegetswe.
Over 1,000 families in the southern African country has been affected by the recent wave of floods, particularly in the villages of Gweta, Zoroga and Manxotai. Red Cross volunteers are supporting families rebuild their destroyed homes. A door-t0-door hygiene sensitisation is also ongoing to prevent a possible flare-up of waterborne diseases.
Reporting by Gorata Fembo
Edited by Osman Mohamed Osman
Photo: Botswana Red Cross