Victoria Ashipala and Obrein Simasiku
ONGWEDIVA & OMUTHIYA – Classes at over 100 schools in Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena regions have been completely or partially suspended due to flooding water streams in the regions. Northern Namibia and southern Angola have recently received good rains, which have not only filled up the water streams but caused the Cuvelai River in Angola to rise and overflow into the water systems in northern Namibia, popularly known as oshanas. A number of facilities, mostly rural schools, have been cut off; thus, teachers and learners are unable to access them. This has forced the ministry of education to suspend lessons at severely flooded schools and suspend junior classes at schools that are surrounded by water streams.
Ministry of education executive director Sanet Steenkamp said classes at 50 schools in Omusati have been completely suspended. In addition, a total of 36 schools in Ohangwena are affected, of which lessons at 26 are fully suspended, while 10 are partially suspended. In Oshana, 11 schools are affected, whereas seven are completely closed.
Furthermore, a number of schools in Oniipa and Onayena constituencies of Oshikoto have suspended lessons due to overflowing floodplains. According to councillor for Onayena Iyambo Indongo, rivers in the constituency are seasonally filled to capacity; as a result, the paths leading to schools become inaccessible. “Oniihwa combined, Oshilulu and Onguma primary school have suspended classes because the rivers are full; thus, children are unable to cross. I can, however, say no school is flooded; it is just the access to such [schools] that is problematic,” stated Indongo.
In addition, Iikango village is surrounded by water, making it completely inaccessible, but the situation is said to be under control.
Echoing similar sentiments is the councillor for Oniipa, Jerry Ngwena, who added that Onathinge north has suspended lessons due to floodwater from Oshigambo and Onathinge rivers that are full to capacity. Meanwhile, education deputy director Vilho Shipuata said schools in Oshikoto are relatively safe because there are minimal oshanas.