ONGWEDIVA – Flood-hit areas in northern Namibia are bracing for further downpours, while a hydrologist has advised people to prepare for the worst as water levels continue to rise.
Northern-based hydrologist Leonard Hango said the seasonal flood from Angola, known as efundja, has already swept into the country. He further urged residents residing in flood-prone areas to move to higher and safer grounds as soon as possible as more floods are expected.
“There is a possibility of heavy floods as heavy rains keep falling in Angola. It is raining very heavily. The river has risen,” Hango elaborated. He said if it continues pouring down in the southern part of Angola then Namibia should expect heavy floods soon. Currently the level of the water of the Oshana shaNalumono stands at 1.2 metres. Heavy rains and flooding in northern Namibia have already resulted in the closures of many schools in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Oshana regions.
The Oshakati Town Council has already started relocating residents in flood-prone areas to higher ground. Close to 1 000 people were moved as at yesterday. However, some residents have refused to be moved to higher ground, claiming they will be left to starve inside the “camp” because the government has not yet indicated whether they would be provided with food aid.
So far 950 people in Oshakati, consisting of 172 families, have agreed to be relocated and they now live in 73 tents. Council has also provided water points and electricity, ablution facilities, showers and skip containers for refuse on site.
The council has temporarily relocated the affected communities to a plot at Ehenye Extention 11 but some people, mostly from locations such as Oshoopala, Oneshila and Evululuko prefer to stay behind. They refuse to be moved despite the fact that their rooms are filled with water and mud, making their homes not conducive for human habitation.
One of Oneshila’s residents, Iyaloo Thobias, said she would only move to higher ground if the authorities provide her with maize meal, cooking oil and other basic needs. She added that they are now benefiting from fish, which are in abundance due to the flood, but this will not be the case if they are relocated to Ehenye.
Oshakati Town Council spokesperson Katarina Kamari told New Era that most of the people that have been relocated only want food. “When we took them some tents yesterday, many started asking when they will get their food. Meaning what they want is only food, because some of them, their houses are not really flooded and they were not supposed to be relocated,” Kamari said.
Kamari explained that as from now, the town council would only relocate families that are seriously flooded. She said some people moved to the tents with different intentions, as their homes are not flooded at all. She said the decision to provide food aid to the relocated families lies entirely with the management committee, which has not yet met to discuss the specific issue. – firstname.lastname@example.org