New Era (Windhoek)

8 February 2013

Namibia: Learners Marooned At Schools By Floods

Rundu — Learners at some of the 21 schools in the flood-hit Kabbe Constituency in the Caprivi Region are accommodated in makeshift shelters on school premises after the rising Zambezi River cut off most villages from schools.

The learners affected most are from the areas of Itomba, Ivilivinzi, Nankuntwe, Lisikili and Namiyundu. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Kabbe constituency councillor, Raphael Mbala, said the river level currently stands at 501 metres. Learners have started using dugout canoes to paddle along streams everyday to get to school.

"Learners have already started putting up temporary hut structures where they will be staying until the floods subside. Most of them live on the premises during weekdays and go back to their homes on weekends," said Mbala. Learners have to provide their own meals, forcing many parents to send their children to school with uncooked food rations to sustain themselves during weekdays. "Right now the regional council is not in a position to provide the learners with food, we can only do so once we relocate them to designated relocation areas," he said, adding no deaths have been reported from the floods so far.

"The village development committee has not reported any incidents so far," he said. He also reiterated an earlier warning urging people with livestock to move their animals to higher ground to prevent avoidable losses. During an earlier interview with New Era, Mbala warned that poor harvests can be expected at Schuckmannsburg, Lisikili, Namiyundu and Nankuntwe.

Meanwhile, a research technician at the Kalimbeza Rice Project, Venaune Hepute, told New Era that the current flooding only affected a small portion of the project thus far. "Currently we are just harvesting the rice that has reached maturity and the rest we leave, this is because the water has not submerged the rice fields as we anticipated," said Hepute

Hepute is however optimistic that the rice on the parts which are yet to be harvested will have enough time to reach maturity stage before the fields are submerged.

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