Namibia

Floods cause havoc at schools

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by Helvy Shaanika

OSHAKATI – Barely a week after schools re-opened for the new academic year, several schools in the north have been cut off by floods, resulting in the disruption of classes at several schools. Some roads have also been washed away.

Hydrologists predict that the impact of floods in 2012 is expected to surpass that of 2011 given that it has started raining early and it is raining heavily in some of the northern regions.

Constant heavy rains were experienced in the northern parts of the country throughout this week and more rain is expected next week.

By yesterday morning, the heavy rains were already being felt as floods cut off about five schools in Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto regions.

The schools include Ombwana, Uushunga and Okanimekwa combined school in Omusati Region and Odibo in Ohangwena Region.

The Oshigambo River also continues to cause havoc for Oshigambo High School as the female hostels have already been cut off from the rest of the school By Wednesday afternoon, there was little water on Kandjengedhi Bridge. However, water levels rose overnight causing fear among the residents who suspect that this could be due to floodwater from Angola.

Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry’s hydrologist, Leonard Hango, however says the floods in the region are due to local rain as it has only started raining recently in Angola.

Hango said, based on satellite images, the southern part of Angola only has water in ponds and there is no flow at all.

According to Hango, the 2012 floods level and their impact are forecast to be greater than last year. This means, this year’s floods are expected to set a record, compared to the previous years, when Namibian northern regions experienced floods due to heavy rains and efundja from Angola.

Based on predictions by the Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum, Namibia is expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall between January and March 2012.

“We hate to say this, but we have to tell the truth. Last year it started raining on January 25, while this year, we are already in the middle of the rainy season. This means that the 2012 rainy season will be longer than last year’s.”

“There was already a lot of water in the catchments, the soil is still saturated and the rain forecast for this year is going to be the same as last year’s. These are all indications that this year’s rain impact will be much greater,” said Hango.

Hango revealed that his office is closely monitoring the situation, adding that flood warnings were sent to relevant sectors.