Caprivi Faces ‘Abnormal’ Floods

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Caprivi Regional Governor Bernard Sibalatani has requested the Emergency Management Unit (EMU) Desk in the office of the Prime Minister to provide direction on how emergency equipment could be acquired as the region faces some heavy flooding. Zambezi water levels continue to rise and serious flooding in villages along the river is imminent. Sibalatani yesterday revealed this year’s flood appears “abnormal”. The water levels by yesterday afternoon stood at 6.05 meters compared to the previous flood of 2004 when the water level this time of the year stood at two meters. “The water is speedily rising. We need equipment such as small riverboats to evacuate people in case this situation worsens,” he said. The 2004 floods were the most severe in the region when the Zambezi River rose as high as 6.64 meters. It is not known yet if this year would be worse than 2004. Deputy Director of EMU Gabriel Kangowa confirmed the letter to his office, adding that a team comprising of three people is expected in Katima Mulilo next week Tuesday. The team, under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary Mbeuta ua Ndjarakana, aims to discuss with the regional governor and other officials on ways and means to strengthen already existing mechanisms. The team will also assess the needs of the few people who have already re-located to Schuckmannsburg. “We want to meet those who have moved to higher grounds and compile a report that will be given to government,” he said. Based on the findings on the ground, the Secretary to Cabinet Frans Kapofi might convene a National Emergency Management Committee meeting to discuss the report for further action. Already, Kangowa has approached the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to request a hover boat that can be used to reach all the flooded areas. A big boat is already on standby in the region should there be an emergency to evacuate people. The boat can carry a maximum of 20 people. According to Kangowa, more boats might be needed should water levels continue to rise and thus the private sector might be approached for help. “Already the Namibia Red Cross is on standby. They are just waiting for the report and then we will inform them of the basic needs in these areas to be visited,” Kangowa added. Unlike in normal circumstances where the waterpower at the source weakens once there is flooding, water levels continue to rise in the Zambezi. This situation raises concern, the governor said. “The movement of water into the plains and channels is very fast,” he stressed.