Namibia: Flood Fears Grip Oshana

The onset of the rainy season has sparked flood fears among residents of flood-prone Oshakati areas such as Ekuku, Ehenye and Onawa.

Oshakati mayor Leonard Hango has cautioned Oshakati residents living in and around areas prone to flooding to ensure they move their property to safety while it is still early.

"The rainy season is in its early stages and predictions from weather bureaux have indicated that we are going to receive normal rainfall. We have seen that over the past weekend some areas received more rain than others and everyone is waiting for good rain, but we know that floods are unpredictable. People should not wait until heavy rains come to prepare against flooding and protect their properties. Some people have gone through the same situation every rainy season and they should know better that [they aught to be] prepared already," warned Hango.

Hango says Oshakati Town Council has already hired contractors to drain water from flood-prone residential areas such as Ehenye and Ekuku.

Meanwhile, after last weekend's rains, residents at Onawa woke up to find their homes flooded with nowhere to walk through, while some drainage systems were also destroyed and submerged in water.

"We knew that there was going to be rain over the weekend, but we didn't realise that it was going to flood our yards and cause damage. When we woke up on Saturday, many of us gathered outside our houses in shock when we discovered that there was water everywhere. This is just the beginning of the rains and we are already experiencing some flooding. This is worrisome," said Onawa resident Selma Teofilus.

Another resident, Helvi Ngwena is pleading with the town council to help level the ground in the residential areas by spreading out the sand because most yards quickly fill up with rainwater the moment it rains.

"The town council should do something to help us, residents of Onawa, by levelling the ground because our houses, which, even though they are low-cost housing schemes, were built in flood-prone areas with the town council's approval. However, now that the rainy season is here, we are not at ease. Our drains are being washed away already with the little [rains] we received. We don't know what will happen in case of heavy rains. The town council had promised to fill up the place with sand but it has almost been a month and we have not seen them here. Those with money had to hire trucks and fill their own places with sand but not everyone can afford it's. The place where we can get sand for this purpose is far and we need tractors to dig for the sand," complained Ngwena.

Floods are among natural phenomena that can have major and negative impacts on any society globally. The extent of floods can determine the degree of impact and floods can cause extensive economic losses, which affect livelihoods, businesses and infrastructure.

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