7 March 2018

Namibia: Sewage Floods Zambezi School

Sewage flooded Ngweze Primary School at Katima Mulilo yesterday, with authorities even contemplating sending pupils home for health reasons.

The school is the latest to be hit by sewage flooding blamed on an ailing and deteriorating sewerage system at the town. The sewage has also flooded some parts of the town, such as the Caprivi Cash & Carry, Metro Wholesale and the Pick n Pay shopping mall.

When The Namibian visited the school yesterday, teachers and pupils were wearing masks against the stench.

Zambezi regional education director Austin Samupwa said the situation might force them to send the pupils and teachers home until the problem was fixed as it posed a health risk.

"This is not the problem of the education ministry, but the sewage problem of the Katima Mulilo Town Council. I called the council officials two weeks ago to a meeting when the rain was heavy as it was the same situation at the school.

"They were working on the problem since the meeting, but did not finish due to the heavy rains, which led to the same situation at the school again. We do not know how long this will last, which is very frustrating for us," Samupwa stated.

Last week The Namibian spoke to some residents who said they were disgusted by the sewage crisis, and that they have been complaining to the council to do something about it for years.

"I have been a street vendor along the Hage Geingob Road for the past two years, and that sewer you see right there has been making us sick. Even our customers who buy mealies from us are complaining, and sometimes just go without buying anything as the smell is too strong. It gets worse during the rains. We complain to the council, but nothing happens," said a vendor anonymously.

"My nose itches, and I feel nauseous. We, the residents of this town, are dying slowly. We have no choice but to wade through this water because we have to move around. This town is dirty, and the town council is not doing anything about it. It is not only the sewage troubling us, it is also the water ponds found all over town after it rains. Very soon, we will have an outbreak of waterborne diseases," said local resident Maria Mabuku.

The Katima Mulilo Town Council's spokesperson, Muyoba Muyoba, yesterday said the situation at the Ngweze Primary School was the problem of the ministry of works.

"There are two things affecting the school, one being that we do not know where they connected their sewer line as it was connected to the main line. This means that when the main point is having a problem, it automatically leads to them experiencing a flow back. In light of that, our technicians have advised that the school consults the works ministry to reroute the sewer line to pump 10, which will cut them off from the direct connection and solve their problem," he stated.

Technicians have been working around the clock since Monday to rectify the problem.


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