Namibian floods affect 400 000
Windhoek – The actual extent of flood damage in northern Namibia is slowly becoming known after authorities began investigating difficult-to-reach areas.
Conservative estimates point to floods disrupting the lives of between 100 000 and 200 000 people, but experts say the real numbers could be as high as 400 000, reported Die Republikein.
This would mean more people were disrupted than during the floods of 2009 – also in the north of the country.
The United Nations’ (UN) Central Emergency Response Fund (Cerf) has already granted R8m to assist the country’s authorities. This included help for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in Namibia.
Cerf said at the announcement of the donation that especially health concerns and food security in the northern regions were worrying.
WHO representative in Namibia, Dr Magda Robalo, said that the decreasing water levels were bringing relief but that it didn’t mean that people were out of danger.
“Access to medical help is better, but there is still concern about possible health risks, like a disease epidemic.”
Cholera cases had, for example, already been reported in southern Angola.
Increase in malaria
Robalo also pointed out that important services like immunisation for children, care for pregnant women and the treatment of chronic conditions like diabetes, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids needed immediate attention.
The same statement contained a warning against an increase in malaria, as mosquitoes breed in standing water.
Heavy rain also fell in the central and southern parts of the country.
According to tourbrief.com, a website informing tourists of the country’s roads and river levels, the parking area for non-4x4 vehicles was closed at Sossusvlei.
Although more rain had been forecast for the country’s southern parts, tour operators organising hiking trips in the Fish River Canyon were confident that no cancellations would be necessary in the coming winter season. - Annelie Maré