22 March 2018

Namibia: Hundreds Stranded By Floods in Zambezi

Katima Mulilo — The level of the Zambezi River is expected to surpass the six-metre mark before the end of this week. On Tuesday it stood at 5.91metres compared to 4.92 metres during the same period last year, resulting in hundreds of residents residing in flood-affected areas being stranded.

There were hopes last week the river might stop rising after it stagnated on the same level for a few days.

However, by Monday it had already started rising and is now due to surpass 6 metres which is normally the alarm level when people living in flood-prone areas are required to relocate.

The Zambezi Disaster Risk Management Committee visited the affected places last week to assess the situation on the ground and determine whether there is a need to relocate residents or not.

The mission was not completed after the boat they were using broke down at Ivilivinzi, and officials are expected to return to the affected areas next week, as they still have to complete their mission to determine whether there is a need to relocate residents in the flood-affected areas, particularly learners and teachers before they return from the midterm break after the long Easter weekend.

New Era understands that parents were not eager to relocate when visited by the disaster management committee, on grounds they feel the water is not a threat at this stage.

Some say the money which will be spent on relocating is what they need to develop their areas.

They also argue that the region should rather consider elevating government institutions such as schools and clinics, which they say will prove to be a pragmatic solution in the long run, rather than relocating people whenever the region suffers floods.

Currently people in the affected areas of Mpukano, Muzii, Itomba, Nsundwa and Ivilivinzi have to use dugout canoes when they want to go to town. Those at Mbalasinte, Kasika and Impalila usually detour through Botswana in order to travel to Katima Mulilo while those at Luhonono and Nankutwe have to cross the Zambezi River into Zambia and then travel by road to Katima Mulilo.

The Isize-Luhonono road is also cut off and the water has now surrounded Isize Combined School. This means those at Malindi and Sifuha have to walk to Isize Combined School if they want to travel to Katima Mulilo to access health services and to buy groceries and other goods.


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