Botswana: Okavango river floods, Villages evacuated

from Missionary International Service News Agency
Published on 06 May 2010 View Original
At least twenty villages in Botswana were evacuated and some 200 families displaced after the Okavango River, fourth largest of Africa, burst its banks in the past days, reaching unprecedented levels. As already occurred in the past during the rain season between March and June, the river flooded in the homonymous northern district where it empties into a vast swamp in the Kalahari desert, irrigating an area of over 16,000sq/km (Okavango Delta). Local authorities mobilised to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases, but a further rise of water levels may hamper operations. Flooding has been reported also in Angola, where the river starts with the name Cubango, passing through Namibia - also constituting a natural border between the two countries) and emptying in Botswana after a 4m drop forming the Popa Falls. Botswana's Department of Water Affairs stated that the three countries must work together to confront the emergency. Angola, Namibia and Botswana all use the Okavango for fishing, transport and irrigation for farming on the river banks.