President Asked to Declare Disaster Area By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The Governor of the Hardap region Katrina Hansen yesterday approached President Hifikepunye Pohamba requesting him to consider declaring the flood stricken town of Mariental a disaster area. The Governor made the urgent request telephonically to President Pohamba yesterday morning while briefing the Head of State about the precarious situation and the evacuation of residents of the town from the flooded areas. Governor Hansen was however quick to point out that although the situation was serious, it was under control. Yesterday, relevant stakeholders comprising Namwater, Nampower, ministers of Health, Fisheries, and Education and Emergency Services were locked in consultations at the town on how best to handle the flood situation, as well as to plan for the evacuation of those affected by the flood. Prime Minister Nahas Angula informed New Era yesterday that government had dispatched the country’s military and police to the area to assist in the evacuation process. “The police were sent in there for the evacuation of people to the school hostels. The Ministry of Works has also sent in a helicopter as well and the roads have become impassable… the people are in a bad situation,” said the Premier, adding that a special committee of relevant authorities under the leadership of Secretary to Cabinet Frans Kapofi caucused on the flood situation at the town. When approached for comment yesterday, Kapofi said that he met yesterday morning with the National Emergency Management Committee to review information received from briefings by emergency teams on the ground. “We have dispatched some of the members to the area to see what can be done in terms of providing the basic necessities like food, accommodation and medication, and the kind of humanitarian arrangements that have been done by government to ensure that people are safe as far as the flooding is concerned,” explained Kapofi, adding that the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Abraham Iyambo and the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security Gabes Shihepo were also in the area to assess the situation. Reports say that with only the rooftops of properties being visible in some sections of the town, people are traumatised by the sudden inflow from the Hardap Dam. Reportedly the entire western side of the town is submerged in water, a sizeable part of the area that consists of business entities such as banks, hotels and service stations. Currently, the Emergency management System is assessing the flooding with the aim to produce a report that would further help government to decide on the next steps. Kapofi said it was President Pohamba’s prerogative to decide whether the town would be declared a disaster area or not. However, all measures had been taken to address the crisis on the ground.
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