Rundu — The Office of the Prime Minister has assured the authorities in the Kavango West region, where over 700 homesteads have been flooded, that it was doing everything possible to provide the necessary assistance.
The OPM, in particular, has been called out by the Kavango West Regional Council which expressed dissatisfaction with the delayed reaction. Scores of residents of Kapako constituency are in dire need of food, water and temporary shelter after over 700 homesteads at five villages endured floods. The floods also destroyed their crop fields, especially those close to the floodplains.
The National Disaster Risk Management Committee (NDRMC) in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is mandated to handle all disasters in the country with a supporting hand of the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee (RDRMC).
"On 10 February a letter was sent to OPM requesting assistance to find a solution to the situation after three places were identified for relocation of the affected families. The OPM acknowledged having received the letter and responded that a team would be in the region doing a national verification and upon that a concrete solution would be implemented across the board," said regional council spokesperson Salomo Tenga.
"On 24 February during a meeting of the first Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee for the year, the committee expressed dismay over the delay practices by the National Disaster Risk Management Committee which [is] a disservice to the affected communities."
Tenga added that five villages, namely Mafugu, Sikondo, Ruurumwe, Nakazaza and Siyandeya were affected. In 2009, similar floods were experienced in the same areas and OPM intervened in the relocation by providing tents and food aid.
Not sleeping on job
Meanwhile, the OPM said it was not sleeping on the job, adding that they have already started with the required immediate response.
"Unfortunately when the assistance letter came in, we just had to do an assessment to confirm the situation on the ground and it has been concluded last week and as of today we have started mobilising immediate assistance with the main challenge, which is to move the affected people to higher grounds," OPM executive director I-Ben Nashandi said.
"As the OPM I can assure you that we have started acting on their letter - the food items will be delivered for those who will be relocated and we are mobilising for additional temporary structures or tents since this will be temporary shelter."
He also promised to work closely with the regional council in identifying relocation sites with basic amenities. "We have a similar situation in Kunene where due to lack of rain there, we have farmers from deep in the mountains coming in search of grazing. They have no water, no food and their grazing is depleted but last week we provided them with water and food where they are currently temporarily settled," he said.
"And now we are trying to find the best way for them to be assisted in terms of grazing for their livestock, that is for Kunene and part of Omusati and Erongo regions. These areas are facing hardship as there is no rain."