The Namibian (Windhoek)

15 January 2013

Namibia: Signs of Flooding in Caprivi

Photo: Hezron Ochiel/IRIN
File Photo of Children walking on submerged foot paths as a result of flash floods.

EIGHTEEN households have been moved to upper ground in the Caprivi Region after heavy rainfall over the past week.

Caprivi Governor Lawrence Sampofu told The Namibian yesterday that the relocated households are from Choto, an area in Katima Mulilo.

"This is not a flood, it's just rainwater because it rained too much last week. The houses in Choto are constructed with mud and due to the heavy rains, the mud walls started falling. Only those 18 households have been affected and everyone has been relocated," said Sampofu. The weather bureau in the meantime has cautioned people in the Caprivi Region to take precautionary measures as heavy rainfall is expected in the region starting today.

Sampofu said the town council had made announcements on local radio stations informing people of the coming rainfall and urging them to be prepared.

The governor of the Kavango Region, Maurus Nekaro, said the rain has not had the same effect in his region.

"We had some rain but it was average. No floods have affected us yet and life continues to be normal," said Nekaro.

Meanwhile, with the opening of schools countrywide today, close to 600 pupils in the Omusati Region will have to be taught in tents after several schools were damaged by heavy rains and winds over the festive season.

At least 15 classrooms were destroyed and the education directorate in the region said it would need at least N$3 million to repair the damage caused to schools such as the Omagalanga Combined School, Oshitutuma, Epya, Ouvale, Elondo and Omunkete primary schools.

During the past two years, floods in the northern regions have necessitated the relocation of at least 20 000 people.

In its daily bulletin yesterday, the Hydrological Service of Namibia reported that the the Zambezi River continued its steady rise at Katima Mulilo, and that levels were relatively high for early in the rainy season (but lower than in 2011).

"The indication is that the river levels at Katima Mulilo may reach the first critical 3.50- to 4.00-metre range towards the end of January or beginning of February. At this level the overflow in the Zambezi floodplains normally starts and then inhibits easy access to the area," it reported.

It said there is no sign yet of a flood in the Cuvelai basin, while flows in other rivers (Kunene, Kavango, Kwando) on Namibia's northern borders are fairly stable. But a new floodwave has arrived at Nkurenkuru in the Kavango River and a high flood is starting in the very upper reach of the Kwando River in Angola.

In its daily bulletin yesterday, the Hydrological Services Namibia reported that the the Zambezi River continues its steady rise at Katima Mulilo, and levels are relatively high even though it is early in the rainy season (but lower than in 2011).

"The indication is that the river levels in Katima Mulilo may reach the first critical 3.50-4.00 metre range towards the end of January or beginning of February. At this level the overflow in the Zambezi floodplains normally starts and then inhibits easy access to the area," reported the hydrological services.

About 80 000 people live in the Caprivi, which is dominated by subsistence farming, and 72% live in rural areas.

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InFocus

Floods Force Namibians to Relocate

File Photo of Children walking on submerged foot paths as a result of flash floods.

Floods in the country have forced some citizens to move to less affected areas and learners are expected to be taught in tents when the schools reopens. Read more »