Tuesday, 14 March 2017 16:04

Motswasejane family cries out for dignity

The Motswasejane family has been left homeless after cyclone Dineo that hit the country a couple of weeks ago, tore apart the mud hut that the already poverty-stricken family called home.

“In a split second, everything was gone. We now live where we can, today we are crammed in my grandmother’s one room, tomorrow will sort itself out,” says Gorataone Motswasejane. Based in Mokhomba, a settlement not far from the mining town of Jwaneng, the 29-year old sobs as she looks around the jumbled mess that a few weeks ago was a home she shared with a mother (59), four siblings aged 14,11,10 and her son (seven). It is certainly a stressful situation for the young mother, who says her family just needs a little help, a place to stay until she gets on her two feet. “It was barely liveable but it was home.

Now we literally have nothing. I don’t know how and when we will rebuild since I’m not even able to help my mother,” said Gorataone who until recently was the family’s sole breadwinner.She is bed-ridden, having been diagnosed with Tuberculosis and Meningitis late last year.  Gorataone studied painting and decorating at CITF and for a while, she said things were a little better because she could do ‘piece-jobs’ and other menial jobs at construction sites in Gaborone.“I was able to help with food and other stuff but now I have become an even bigger burden for my mother,” she said. Now the Motswasejanes struggle to find food daily.

Gorataone said apart from welfare assistance, the food package, which doesn’t even last two weeks, they survive by only what people give to them. When the Botswana Guardian team visited the family, she broke down a few times. “I have been through a lot in my life, my whole family actually as my mother struggled to raise us and now my child will grow up in the same situation of constantly fighting to survive one more day. It breaks my heart,” she said.

She told this publication that the family has long swallowed their pride and are pleading for assistance. “If we can just have a place of our own where we can lay our heads, it will be one less thing to worry about”. There is an immediate need to build another hut; through, she hopes, the assistance of volunteers. But ultimately, she dreams that a Good Samaritan or government can finally build them a proper house, which will give them dignity.

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The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) this week revealed   that    some of the   hardest   hit areas during recent   flash   floods   include Mochudi, Lobatse, and Ramotswa and Otse village.

Most of these areas are located along the Notwane River, which saw its banks breached, by huge amounts of water following   recent flash   floods. This week NDMO   revealed   that Moshawana and Bophirima wards with in Mochudi saw 22 households being severely affected by   flash floods.

“Households affected have been assisted with various relief items including food baskets, tents and five households have been relocated to a temporary shelter at Phaphani Primary School. Most of those affected by the floods resided along the Notwane river bank,” reads a statement from NDMO. 

“The District Disaster Management Committee providing assistance and response in the area has appealed to residents who live along the river bank to cooperate with their teams when residents are asked to move to high ground. This is due to instances whereby residents have declined the evacuation only to later request for assistance,” the statement reads.

Moreover, NDMO revealed that floods also affected villages of Kgomodiatshaba and Dikgonnye and the Disaster Committee is responding to that situation as well. The villages Molepolole/ Lentsweletau in the Kweneng District saw 18 householdsbeing affected by floods due to the heavy rains while another area affected is Letlhakeng Sub District with 20 households.
“In Ramotswa the water level in the river has receded and the situation has normalized in the village, this includes the Taung area where the road is also open for use.” Meanwhile the situation in Lobatse is said to have stabilized and the Disaster Management Committee is monitoring the situation.” The Committee further advises members of the public not to attempt to cross the Nywaane Bridge even by foot as the condition of the damaged bridge is unstable and very dangerous.

This follows after some parents from Otse village wanted to have their school going children cross the bridge on the way to school in Lobatse.” NDMO further urged members of the public must contact the District Commissioner’s office, Police, Kgosi or any leadership in their respective areas if they experience flooding.

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The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) this week announced that close to 200   households   have   been affected by   the recurring   flash floods that   have engulfed most areas of the country.

This week NDMO announced   that areas   that   have   hit   the hardest by flash floods   include the North East district, Nkange, Lobatse, Ramotswa, Kanye, Tlokweng Moshupa, Goodhope, Mahalapye and Mochudi. 

“The total number of households affected at the present moment is 184 households and with the rains continuing there is likelihood of more areas to be affected,” a statement from Office of President reads. The NDMO added   that assistance currently rendered by the different Disaster Management Committees include evacuations to safer ground, tents, blankets and food baskets.

“Moreover, parents staying in affected areas are encouraged not to allow their children to play or go near flood waters. They must remain vigilant at all times.” The NDMO further advises those who require any assistance due to possible flooding in their areas to contact the local District Disaster Management Committee, Police, Kgosi or any local leadership in their respective areas.

“NDMO wishes to advice members of the public to continue being vigilant during the ongoing rainfall being experienced around the country. The public is further urged to be careful when approaching and crossing fast flowing streams and rivers.”

In addition, the public is further urged to cooperate with the various stakeholders engaged in the response efforts. “Members of the public are further urged to listen to their radios and watch TV weather bulletins and spot announcements on possible flooding in their areas. The NDMO together with different stakeholders continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide regular updates.”

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The Department of meteorological services has today warned members of the public   to expect heavy rainfall of up to 80mm or   more within 24 hours.

Heavy rainfall accompanied   by strong winds and lightening is expected around most parts of the   country today. According to the Department of meteorological services   severe weather   is expected to   damage property with possible loss of life. Meanwhile international news agencies have reported that tropical storm Dineo has had no impact on neighbouring   South Africa yet.

Reports   are that the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces   are likely to experience the most severe weather. Meanwhile the anticipated tropical storm is reported to have already   killed seven people, displaced 130 000 people while 20 000 have been destroyed

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