by Helvy Shaanika
OSHAKATI – Floods have compelled education authorities at close to 70 schools in the Omusati Region to close these schools as a safety measure to mitigate the emergency that endangers lives.
Omusati Education Deputy Director Loide Shatiwa confirmed that 64 schools in her region have closed, while four others suspended classes from Grade One to Grade Seven.
Heavy rains that fell in the northern regions during the course of last week are the cause of the situation. Normally, Omusati Region has been among the least flood-affected regions.
This is in comparison to other northern regions such as Oshana and Ohan-gwena. This is attributed to the fact that the water that flows from the Cuvelai River to the catchments in Omusati Region has been always minimal.
The current situation is however different as the region has been flooded by local rains.
“Omusati is not like other northern regions where water runs through. Now that the region received about 100mm of rain in the past few days, the water could not go anywhere, it stands that is why the region is flooded,” said one of the inhabitants of Omusati Region.
According to Shatiwa, Okalongo and Anamulenge circuits are the most affected circuits in her region with 17 and 15 schools closed in each circuit, respectively. Other affected circuits have eight to four schools closed.
According to Shatiwa, classes at the affected schools are temporally suspended, until further notice adding that the decision whether learners should camp at their schools or not is still to be taken.
“Currently we are closely monitoring the situation. We are scared that if we let the children camp now the water level may increase causing some of the schools not to be accessible. What is more important right now is that we save the lives of our children. We don’t want to lose any child due to drowning or to waterborne diseases,” said Shatiwa.
Shatiwa added that once the situation is clear, the region will then consider camping. She said Omusati Region has camping equipment in place. Shatiwa further added that her region will ensure that the affected schools have compensated for the days lost due to floods.
Meanwhile, the deputy directors in Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto regions, maintained that no school has been closed due to floods it their regions.
“I know that schools such as Endombo, Chief Ankama Primary School, Omulunga and Engome must be affected.
“Even if they are not closed, they must be badly affected,” said Oshana Education Deputy Regional Director Immanuel Aipanda.
Isak Hamatwi and Natangwe Shipwata for Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions respectively also maintained that they have not received any official information confirming schools closed down in their regions.
According to Shipwata, currently, Oshigambo High School is the only badly affected school in his region. The girls’ hostels at that school have been cut off from the rest of the school.
Shipwata said the situation is, however, under control, as the girls are currently provided with transport that would drop them to and from classes using a different route.