1 February 2013

Namibia: Flood-Hit Residents to Relocate

Kutima Mulilo — The 14 500 inhabitants of the flood-hit Kabbe Constituency in the Caprivi Region have been told to relocate to higher ground, especially those owning livestock, before more serious flooding occurs.

The water level of the Zambezi River rose to 4.82 metres yesterday when Kabbe Constituency Councillor Raphael Mbala sent out the warning. Four schools will be relocated next week. There are 21 schools in the constituency. Crop fields are already submerged and the regional governor Lawrence Sampofu is deeply concerned about this year's harvest in the area. "Many fields are already submerged, and the river continues to rise. By next week we will relocate about four schools, clinics and some villagers to higher ground," he said. Poor harvests are expected in flood-prone areas along the Zambezi River of Namiyundu, Lisikili, and Schuckmannsburg.

"People must remember that we can only transport human beings on the boats, therefore they must act now and get their animals to higher ground. They must act now before the area is completely surrounded by water," Mbala warned. Officials distributing food to flood victims are forced to drive through Zambia and the seemingly inexorable rise of the Zambezi is expected to compound the difficulties faced by thousands of people in the constituency. Notwithstanding the present situation, Sampofu is confident that the region is well equipped to minimize the impact of flooding.

"We have six boats and the Richard Kapelwa Kabajani ferry that can be used to evacuate the affected people," he said. Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Samuel Ankama, who was in the region yesterday, also called on the region's leaders to ensure that the relocation of schools does not "impede learning activities" at the affected schools.

"This is a serious issue, because the country can only develop if we have educated people.

Therefore, we should do this in a careful manner. We should also take note that relocation is not ideal for those people who have belongings, because they can be destroyed," said Ankama.

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