By Reagan Malumo
Communal farmers inhabiting the flood-prone low-lying areas of eastern Caprivi have been advised to relocate their cattle urgently before the escape routes are blocked by floods.
Already, the water in the Zambezi River has broken the riverbanks spilling into surrounding flood planes and lakes, causing panic.
Last week, the Directorate of Veterinary Services at Katima Mulilo issued a flood alert, warning all communal farmers to start relocating their livestock from flood-prone areas to higher ground.
The directorate that last year issued a directive prohibiting movement of livestock in the region following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, has now given conditional permission to farmers living in flood areas to relocate their cattle.
State Veterinarian, Frank Chitate, has confirmed to New Era that his directorate was informed through the Regional Emergence Management Unity (REMU) that the Zambezi water level has started to increase drastically and that an urgent warning needs to be circulated to people living in those areas to start relocating. It is against this background that the directorate decided to inform all farmers in those areas to move livestock to higher ground provided they collect a Livestock Movement Permit from the Veterinary Office.
He said some farmers have already started to collect their permits, a good indication that they are adhering to early flood warning.
Meanwhile, Vincent Simana, of the local Hydrological Office yesterday indicated that the Zambezi River stands at 2.46 metres, which is 18 centimetres higher than the 2.28 metres on the same date last year. Simana said the increase was due to heavy rains.
“We do not know what might happen tomorrow, the water might rise again or go down,” said Simana. Flooding in the Caprivi Region is as a result of the heavy rains that are normally experienced in Zambia and Angola.
Recently, there have been reports of heavy rainfall in these countries, hence concern for possible massive flooding in the Caprivi Region this year.
Chitate also confirmed that the vaccination campaign against foot-and- mouth was progressing well in the region and that about 80ǟ