By Chrispin Inambao
Unusually dry climatic conditions continue to prevail in most parts of the country with oppressive and extreme temperatures since the onset of the festive season, except for a few drops experienced every now and then.
Out of Namibia’s 13 regions, the far northeastern Caprivi Region seems the sole exception to this atypical climatic pattern. The region has been blessed with torrential rains and its skies were overcast eight-over-eight for most part of December and this year.
While hot and dry conditions have been the norm in most parts of the country, since the onset of the rainy season last October, it has rained heavily in Caprivi with thousands of its peasant farmers taking advantage of the wet conditions.
While Caprivi farmers welcome the good rains because they would improve their overall food and even recharge heavily depleted water sources, some slum-dwellers of Chotto are now worse off as their rudimentary-constructed houses have crumbled while others are on the verge of collapse. Pools of murky water flow into some of these shacks built from a cheap mixture of mud and cement and covered with zinc sheets.
And the Zambezi River has already started discharging excess water into nearby streams raising fears of yet another devastating flood in the low-lying areas.
Though the meteorological base outside Katima Mulilo is a good reflection of the rains that continue to soak Caprivi in total contrast to the arid conditions that prevailed in other parts of Namibia, on January 1, 4.6 mm of rain was measured and the same base recorded 19.7 mm the following day though other regions registered not a single drop.
Other readings from that isolated ground base were: 1.6 mm measured on Christmas Day 12.0 mm on Boxing Day, 3.0 mm on December 27, 19.9 mm on December 28, 16.1 mm on 29 December, 2.6 mm on December 30 and 5.7 mm on New Year’s Eve compared to zero in other parts of the country a condition blamed on erratic weather patterns.
In Zambia across the Zambezi River from the Caprivi, it is reported that heavy incessant rainfall has already displaced thousands of people, washed away roads and bridges and even caused several deaths. Some houses are reported to have collapsed in Livingstone, Zambia due to heavy rainfall.
In Zimbabwe four more people drowned bringing to 31 the number killed in flooding caused by a month of heavy rains, which also claimed two lives in neighbouring Mozambique, according to various reports on Friday. And in Zimbabwe, three people travelling in an ox-drawn cart were swept away by floodwaters in an area in northern Mashonaland West Province.
Breakdown of communication links in flood-hit areas meant that the drownings, which occurred last week, were reported on Friday for the first time.
Elsewhere, in Seke, south of Harare, a man drowned last Tuesday while trying to drive his cattle through a swollen stream.
The flooding in low-lying areas of the north and south have been provoked by the heaviest rains in December in about a century.
Meteorologists say current heavy rains experienced in northeast Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other parts of southern Africa are as a result of a weather pattern over the Pacific Ocean called La Niǟ