As multitudes of people swarmed the Francistown Stadium to commemorate the National Disaster Reduction day, the United Nations Resident Representative to Botswana, Khin-Sandi Lwin, told the participants that although Botswana is not in the zones that are prone to disasters, such as earthquakes, cyclones and tidal waves, it does not make it resistant to disasters, therefore there is a crucial need by everyone to take responsibility against disasters.
“Botswana may not be in the earthquake, cyclone and tidal wave zone or have a history of communal conflict but today’s burning question and call for action must still be heeded,” said Lwin.
She pointed out that these are turbulent times where climate change, food insecurity, economic recession and terrorism are global threats, over which no one can afford to sit back and relax without keeping a vigilant eye. She noted that on Botswana’s case drought, wild land fires, floods, disease outbreaks and road accidents have occurred frequently with the rural areas exposed to much risk.
Lwin also said that cities are also exposed to those risks because disasters such as drought could lead to an influx of people to the cities, which would backfire to more road accidents, mine and industrial accidents.
“Disaster risk reduction has to involve individual responsibility and behavior and it needs to involve a wide range of partners and cannot solely rest on government,” she added.
However, Lwin said that the United Nations is pleased to be represented in the National Disaster Management Committee of Botswana and added that the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) has been able to provide technical support for the preparation of the National Disaster Risk Management Plan, which is based in the office of the President.
Other UN Agencies, such as WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, UNAIDS, WFP, FAO, UNIDO and ILO are already supporting and standing ready to support relevant line ministries in their respective line of responsibility.
“We in the UN commend the government of Botswana in having the right set of foundational measures in place,” she pointed out.
Lwin revealed that as the close partners to the Botswana government, there is a significant will and commitment which exist to ensure that these foundational measures are implemented down to the levels where it matters the most in cities like Francistown, district councils and even at the community level. She further commended the government for well preparing for such days in which the community is sensitized on the importance of disaster preparedness.