Floods in Namibia leave 62 dead, 10 000 homeless

2011-03-31 00:00

MORE than 60 people, including 21 children, have drowned in northern Namibia and housing relief has been provided for the 10 000 that have been displaced after floods hit the area for the third consecutive year.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba has announced a state of emergency and has made R30 million available in relief funding.

Pohamba described the flood, locally known as the Efundja (the Oshiwambo name for the annual floods coming from Angola), as “possibly the worst in our history”.

He expressed concern over the likely impact the floods could have on Namibia’s production of grain, which is soon to be harvested.

The crops of thousands of subsistence farmers are already under water. The area surrounding Ovamboland’s largest town, Oshakati, has been worst hit.

Access to a total of 247 schools and at least 22 clinics has been cut off as a result of the floods.

As a result, more than 100 000 pupils cannot attend their schools and only 25 clinics are providing medical services in the Oshakati district. This includes the provision of medicines and training to prevent water-borne diseases.

Various access roads to and from Oshakati, which includes the main road from Ondangwa and to Ruacana, have either been damaged or in some cases washed away.

Like the conditions of the 2009 flood, bridges and other infrastructure such as sewerage systems are under water or seriously damaged.

The official death toll stands at 62. Ninety-two Namibians were killed in the April floods of 2009 and the infrastructure suffered severe damage. — Media24.

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