Botswana has delivered 25tonnes of food and non-food items to the victims of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe.
Two truckloads of donated items made their way to the neighbouring country last week, with Botswana Red Cross Society officials accompanying the consignment.
The items were handed over to the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society during a brief ceremony in Chipinge.
Botswana Red Cross Society project coordinator, Tshepo Garethata said it was imperative for them to travel to Zimbabwe to deliver the consignment and at the same time get first hand information about one of the worst disasters to hit the region in recent times.
“The response was overwhelming from day one (of the appeal). We managed to get a lot of items from the public.
We felt that it was important for us, not only to send the goods, but to travel there to express our condolences to the affected families,” Garethata said. She further added the trip ensured that they return with valuable information.
“It was critical for us to travel so that we don’t just depend on reports from the media. We wish to continue supporting them in many other ways,”
Garethata said they did not face any challenges during their trip to Zimbabwe, as they engaged the Office of the President and the Botswana Defence Force to assist in transporting the goods.
“We were well taken care of in Zimbabwe, and the distribution of goods (to families) has already started.”
She said they witnessed all the pain that the survivors faced and continue to face, as most of the infrastructure was destroyed when the tropical cyclone struck in mid March.
Hundreds were left dead and scores homeless as Cyclone Idai swept through three southern Africa countries, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Botswana Red Cross Society disaster management coordinator, Joseph Onkemetse said from their experience, there is still need for more assistance, particularly with infrastructure.
“There is need for roads reconstruction and shelter. It is difficult to access the areas, as it is a mountainous terrain,” Onkemetse said.
He said there are a lot of lessons, which can be drawn from Cyclone Idai as Botswana also has low lying areas prone to flooding.