Caprivi Farmers Suffer Crop Damage


By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Hundreds of subsistence farmers ploughing fertile fields in the eastern flood plains in the Kabbe Constituency in Caprivi will need food assistance because flooding and heavy rainfall dealt them a double blow that devastated their crops and deprived them of shelter. Floods drenched their maize fields, while some huts are now surrounded or submerged in floodwater that has isolated some of the villagers who did not move to higher ground. Vincent Simana, the Senior Water Technician at Katima Mulilo said the flooding has driven villagers and thousands of herds of cattle from the flooded settlements to drier land. Among the affected settlements at the villages at Ikaba, Nsundwa, Muzii, Kasika, Itomba, Schuckmannsburg, Nankuntwe, Namiyundu and Mpukano, said Simana. The affected villagers at Nankuntwe, Schuckmannsburg and Simobe have evacuated to drier land at Lusese, while the ones at Nsundwa moved together with their beasts to Lusese. Most of the evacuations involving man and beast took place in February and March. Simana, who is a member of the Regional Emergency Management Unit (REMU) that handles disasters at district level, bemoaned the fact that many villagers will need food aid from local and international donors to replenish stocks ruined by floods and rainwater. Affected villagers are in need of corn meal, rice, sugar, and water purification tablets because most of the water sources are contaminated as a result of the flooding. Because there is an increase in the number of mosquitoes breeding in endless pools of water, the REMU official said villagers are also appealing for treated mosquito nets. On a positive note, Simana said the level of the floods that peaked at 5,38 metres on April 11 this year is gradually dropping. Last year the highest watermark gauged was 3,20 metres on May 13. Yesterday the water level had dropped to 4,95 metres compared to 3,15 metres measured on a corresponding date in 2005. In February this year, hundreds of villagers in the Sibbinda Constituency had to be evacuated to drier land because the continuous heavy rainfall submerged their huts, creating endless pools of water for the first time in recent memory. Apart from the historic flooding the endless streams of water had posed a health hazard and there was an increase in foot rot, a condition where some small worms burrow into the skin of the toes of the victims resulting in sufferers having to constantly scratch their toes. This year a concerted flood-awareness campaign minimised stock and other losses when compared to previous years, though some people are reported to have lost some property.