In the wake of the recently announced rainfall seasonal forecast for the 2017/18 farming year, authorities are doing everything within their power to ensure that the country’s disaster preparedness is enhanced. Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Thato Kwerepe, told a national disaster preparedness workshop in Francistown last week that Botswana should generally expect normal to moderately dry conditions during the end of the season and wet to very wet conditions in the last part of the current rainy season. “The existence of dry conditions and high temperatures means that there is a higher likelihood of the occurrence of heat waves in the country and these (heat waves) are usually accompanied by destructive string winds,” said Kwerepe. According to Kwerepe, high temperatures may lead to high evaporation rates in the surface water sources such as dams. He said high evaporation rates in the surface water will result in straining water sources. In addition, Kwerepe said the normal to moderately dry conditions during the end of the season may compel farmers to delay ploughing and this might have a negative implication on food security.
“Depletion of grazing land is also possible. Similarly, wild land fires which recede during these months (of October, November and December) are also likely to continue unabated,” said a visibly worried Kwerepe. The Director of National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Moagi Baleseng, said though the number of people dying of natural disasters are generally reducing world over, the affected population is increasing. “We should come up with better ways of reducing the numbers of people being affected by disasters,” said Baleseng when addressing the workshop attended by District Commissioners (DCs) and social workers from different parts of the country. Baleseng said the goal is to come up with a coordinated and inclusive effort in responding o natural disasters. Early this year, Botswana was hit by flashfloods thanks to Cyclone Dineo that left a trail of infrastructural damage.