Road engineers blamed for flood

15 February 2017 | Local News

Residents of Omungwelume settlement are accusing the road contractor and engineers working on the Oshakati-Omungwelume road of causing flooding by ignoring local people's advice about storm water.

On Monday evening, the settlement received heavy rain that flooded houses, shops and shebeens.

The community claim that that the flood was caused by a blocked water course that is supposed to channel rainwater to the river.

A senior headwoman for the Omungwelume district of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, Linda Mweetako, told Namibian Sun that they knew the settlement was at risk of flooding because of the road works.

“When they started with the construction of this road last year, we informed them [about the storm water], but they ignored us.

They blocked the water course with streets that connect to the main road. This is a big loss to the people of Omungwelume,” Mweetako said.

Mweetako, who is a businesswoman at Omungwelume, said her shop was flooded and her money and stock were destroyed.

The N$229 million Omungwelume-Oshakati road contract was awarded to Zhongmei Engineering Group, a Chinese construction company. Construction started in mid-2015 and is almost completed.

“My business has been there for 16 years now, but this is the first time it gets flooded.

The rain started at around 23:00 Monday night. Businesses were closed already that time. When water started flooding the area, we could not save anything, apart from evacuating people from houses,” she added.

Omungwelume village headman Festus Hamutoko said he grew up in Omungwelume and it was the first flood he had witnessed there.

“Omungwelume became a settlement with too many buildings, all the water coming from those building is running into this blocked runway and that is how we get flooded. When they started their construction, we held meetings with their engineers, but they ignored us. We are waiting for them to come and rescue us from this,” Hamutoko said.

Community members reported the flooding to the contractor and an engineer, who would not give his name to Namibian Sun, went to inspect. He told the community that there was nothing he could do.

“This is serious and there is nothing we can do now. We are going to sit and discuss the way forward. We are very sorry for this,” he said.

The Omungwelume flooding was in stark contrast to other areas in the north that are still drought stricken.

ILENI NANDJATO

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