31 January 2018

Namibia: Storm, Strong Winds Wreak Havoc in the North

Strong winds in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions have destroyed property, including houses and school buildings.

In the Oshikoto region, strong winds and rain left a trail of destruction at Nakana Constantino's homestead at the Omutsegonime village last Thursday.

The zinc roof sheets of the main house were blown off by the wind and landed in the mahangu field, about 200 metres away. Some of the zinc sheets could not be located, though.

Luckily, only one family member was in the house, and escaped injury. The strong westerly wind also broke a few trees at the homestead.

The chairman of the Oshikoto Regional Council, Samuel Shivute, who is also the Omuthiya constituency councillor, advised community members to accommodate the desolate family members, especially the children, in structures that are not likely to be destroyed by natural phenomena.

"I will have to start rebuilding from scratch because the roof sheets that we recovered are of no use, as they are damaged. We thank God that no one was injured in the storm," said Constantino, adding that as the only breadwinner in the family, the repairs might be too much for him to carry out.

Constantino is, therefore, appealing to the nation for assistance so that they can have a roof over their heads again.

Meanwhile, in the Ohangwena region, a storm that hit the Oshimwaku and Ondjito villages at Engela in the morning hours of yesterday destroyed houses, and left several people without shelter. The heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, also ripped off power lines, destroyed a clinic and caused massive damage to numerous cuca shops in the two villages. The two villages are situated about 10 km north-west of Engela.

According to Max Ngenokesho, a villager at Ondjito, the storm hit around 01h00, and lasted for an hour and a half. He said several houses were destroyed, and some inhabitants were forced to flee their houses after the roofs were blown off during the storm.

"I cannot tell you exactly how many houses were destroyed, but they are many," he stated, adding that the storm also destroyed a clinic, a school and several cuca shops. Ngenokesho thus appealed to government to assist the affected families.

The Popular Democratic Movement's Ohangwena coordinator, Hidipo Hamata, visited the two villages, and implored the Ohangwena Regional Council and Engela councillor Jason Ndakunda to promptly assist the affected families.

"They have a tendency of taking their time to help in such disasters. But in this instance, they should hurry up and help the affected people," he stressed.

Hamata referred to the efundja incidents of last year when it took the regional council several weeks to assist those affected.

"The governor only went there a few days before people could go home after they had spent two months at the centres," he said.

Ngenokesho added that although the storm caused extensive damage, there were no injuries or fatalities.

The Namibian could not get comment from councillor Ndakunda as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.


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