Red Cross Readies for Floods

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By Mungu Mutimani

WINDHOEK

The Namibia Red Cross Society is drafting plans on how best to assist thousands of villagers in low-lying areas of eastern Caprivi who face imminent floods.

The NRCS intends to train dozens of local volunteers on how to mitigate the impact of floods. Since residents are separated by the Zambezi River that floods low-lying areas on both sides, NRCS would also meet its Zambian counterpart.

NRCS National Programme Manager, Naemi Heita, said the Namibia Red Cross, together with Zambia Red Cross Society, would hold joint meetings to develop a community-based floods pre- paredness contingency plan for Katima Mulilo and Sesheke (Zambia) communities on January 21 to 23.

Heita said the broad aim of the meeting is to help volunteers coordinate response to floods and reduce the impact on the two communities.

He said the meeting would also equip volunteers with skills to coordinate response activities during the floods, widely anticipated due to heavy rains that have pounded the northeastern region since the onset of the rainy season.

The Zambezi River has already started discharging excess water into nearby streams and this raises fears of devastating floods in the Kabbe Constituency.

It has been raining heavily on a daily basis in the Caprivi Region. These heavy rains have created a nightmare for the people of Chotto as their houses have crumbled, leaving them in the open.

Across the Zambezi, in Zambia, it is reported that heavy rains have already displaced thousands of people and washed away bridges and road infrastructure, while several houses are said to have collapsed in Livingstone.

The Namibia Red Cross Society said since their mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people, together with other local authorities, they will closely monitor the situation in the Caprivi Region.

The Red Cross, however, encourages communities to heed warnings from local authorities when told to move to higher ground before floods come to avoid being trapped.

Heita said they are developing a response plan for areas within the NRCS mandate.

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