FRANCISTOWN: The recent floods sustained in Gweta village have left residents struggling to deal with the grave repercussions.
This is according to Gweta Disaster Committee chairperson, Ledule Bareki. Floods have inundated Gweta for the past two weeks, with no sign of water levels abating.
“So far 158 households have been affected. A sizeable number of people from those households are now being accommodated by friends and relatives because their homes are totally submerged in water. We have a family of 11 people that have been offered accommodation at a community hall. Other households have been given tents to use as temporary shelter because their houses have been destroyed by floods,” Bareki said on Saturday.
It is feared that many households could be left without shelter since most of the areas on the outskirts of the village were yet to be assessed (by Friday) due to their inaccessibility as a result of the floods.
Bareki highlighted that an additional 64 households in the outskirts of Gweta (in the South East) are said to have been severely affected by the heavy rains. “It appears as if the flooding in the (South East of Gweta) came as a result of the Friday rains. I have only been briefed, but I am yet to go to the area,” he said.
The chairperson added that they do not have space to accommodate people who have been affected by the floods. He also called on well-wishers to assist those who been affected by the floods with food and clothing amongst others.
“In the past, we used to accommodate flood victims at the village brigade, but now the area has not been properly cleared. The floods came earlier than anticipated. Had we known that the floods will come early, we would have long cleared the area,” Bareki explained.
He added that the District Commissioner (DC) has since been made aware of the challenges faced by the Gweta Disaster Committee such as shortage of tents and the urgent need for a proper open space (to pitch tents for displaced victims). He expressed hope the DC will help them to get assistance from relevant authorities on time.
Gweta lies in the Makgadikgadi Pans. Dineo Edwin Mosimanyana, hydrologist and researcher at the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute found in a research a few years ago that the Gweta/Zoroga region is a flood zone.
The flooding according to experts is worsened by headwaters spilling into Makgadikgadi. Experts have in the past opined that too much water from Makgadikgadi may have activated ancient river pathways that stopped flooding for ages, something which would have been responsible for the resurgence of flooding in Gweta and surrounding areas. Every year the aforementioned areas are inundated by a near-storm surge of several metres height above normal. The rains often damage houses. The area Member of Parliament, Polson Majaga has often called on the government to come up with a long-term solution for the flood situation in Gweta but to no avail.