Namibia floods leave thousands homeless

Report
from British Red Cross
Published on 28 Apr 2004
When the Zambezi River burst its banks in late March, thousands of people were forced to abandon their homes. The British Red Cross has sent =A357,000 from our Disaster Fund and Jersey Overseas Aid, to help those affected.
Water levels are still dangerously high, putting many more at risk. "The water came in just this morning," said 19-year-old Rachel, who like many others is trying to salvage what few belongings she can. "It was not even close to our house when we went to sleep last night - it happened really fast."

Working closely with the Government, Namibian Red Cross volunteers are helping those who have been made homeless, distributing essential relief items including tents, blankets, tarpaulins and water purification kits. They are also helping to resettle people in safer areas and providing health education to try and prevent outbreaks of disease.

One of the main priorities is to stop the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria, which thrive in wet and unsanitary conditions. This part of Namibia has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world, and those living with the virus are extremely vulnerable to other diseases.

The Red Cross has been spraying the tents used by the displaced people with insecticide and distributing hundreds of mosquito nets, to halt the spread of malaria.

The operation is being supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which has appealed for =A3345,000. This will help 50,000 people over five months.