Efundja's coming

Hydrological services has urged for flood mitigation planning and recovery preparations to be activated in the Zambezi Region and the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin.

29 March 2018 | Local News

Following recent heavy rains recorded in southern Angola it is anticipated that the northern parts of Namibia is yet again to experience the devastating seasonal flood known as Efundja, which usually leaves thousands of people homeless.

Several parts of the country, especially in the north, continued to experience heavy rains in the last couple of weeks especially in Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshana.

According to this week’s Hydrological Services Namibia daily flood bulletin a flood wave from the main Cuvelai River has been confirmed by the Angolan Authority of Water and Disaster Management and UNICEF, and is currently on its way to Ondjiva from the Evale settlement.

However, the magnitude of the flood is not yet determined, the report indicates.

The hydrological services has therefore calls on planning for flood mitigation and recovery preparations to be activated in the Zambezi Region and the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin.

“Communities living in these flood-prone areas must take precautionary measures,” the bulletin warned.

However, when Namibian Sun contacted various officials from the northern regions, they indicated that no official alert issued, but that plans mitigation plans are in place.

Omusati disaster risk management committee chairperson, Modestus Amutse, said thus far the region only received normal rainfall, but that a number of people in Okalongo have to be relocated to higher ground.

“It is only Okalongo that has reported few people that need to be relocated and these are the people who have settled in flood-prone areas. It is not really a challenge to us because we are able to handle it and most parts of the region is still receiving normal rainfall and is not flooded, unlike previous years. People should therefore not panic,” Amutse said.

Amutse said Omusati is ready, as measures have been put in place before the rainy season commenced.

“The region is ready, we just had our regional disaster and risk management committee meeting a week ago, where we focused on all risk-associated activities, including that of the flood. We have been planning for it in case the flood comes and what we should do. For now we are not in panic mode at all, because if we are to relocate some people, we just have to do that,” Amutse said.

He said the region has boats that will be used if access to areas in the region becomes a challenge and people need to be rescued or moved to higher ground.

Last year about 64 schools were closed in the Omusati Region which saw over 19 000 pupils affected.

However, Amutse said together with works ministry they have planned to address the issue by increasing the construction of roads to schools.

“We have already started with this process and some of them are to be completed. The purpose is to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a similar problem and I can guarantee the nation that come next year, the situation will not be the same when it comes to accessibility of places that are normally affected by flood. These are our schools, our clinics and some of our offices. The situation is under control,” he said.

Oshana chief regional officer, Martin Elago, said his office is aware of the heavy rains being experienced in southern Angola.

“I am really not privy to any flooding news, but if there was perhaps a serious imminent flood, they would have probably alerted me. But the latest that I saw on our flood alert page is some kind of flooding in southern Angola, therefore if you have that kind of flooding, it is possible it may spillover to Namibia, but we have not received anything to that effect yet,” Elago said.

Meanwhile apart from the flooding having negative effects, it is also regarded as a blessing in disguise by northerners, who use the opportunity to fish and sell their catch to road users.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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