Flooded Rivers Claim More Lives

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By Petronella Sibeene

KALKFELD

Heavy rains received in most parts of the country continue to claim human lives with the latest incident involving a farmer who drowned in the Kalkfeld area.

The incident brings the death toll to 13 in less than a month.

On Thursday night Ste-phanus Gertze drowned in a river near Ozongombo Farm when the vehicle he was driving was swept away by the heavy river current.

Namibian Police Regional Chief Inspector, Andreas Nelumbu, confirmed to New Era on Friday evening that the deceased, 37-year-old Gertze, had drowned on Thursday at about 23h00 when he tried to cross a fast-flowing river with a Toyota Land Cruiser.

It is reported that he was travelling with three of his farm workers who were seated at the back of the truck.

Overpowered by the strong current, the vehicle overturned and was dragged for about two kilometres downstream.

The three farm workers reportedly escaped death by jumping off on realising that the vehicle was capsizing. Efforts to rescue Gertze, however, proved futile.

New Era learnt that when the three realised that they could not save their boss they rushed to report to the Kalkfeld Police Station, some 20 km away from the scene of the accident.

The search for the deceased started at about 09h00 on Friday morning and the body was only found about 200 metres away from where the vehicle had stalled at about 13h00 the same day. The body was transported to Otjiwarongo Hospital mortuary on Friday afternoon.

When the New Era team arrived at the scene, pieces of shattered glass could be seen strewn on the riverbank. Police pulled out the Land Cruiser and towed it to Ozongombo Farm.

Nearby farmers said the deceased had been warned of the danger of crossing
the fast-flowing seasonal river.

An architect by profession, Gertze was a well-known businessman from Walvis Bay.

By Friday afternoon, the river was still raging and debris on riverbanks bore evidence of how heavy the water flow was earlier.

Kalkfeld lies 69 km west of Otjiwarongo.

Police yesterday also reported that 38-year-old Tobias Sheetekela allegedly drowned after he tried to cross a flooded pan. The incident took place at Okambebe village in the Ohangwena Region.

An unidentified man was also found floating in the Kunene River in the Otjimuhaka area.

By last week, the death toll from drowning stood at 11.

Flooding remains a major concern in most parts of the Southern African region.

The usually dry rivers of Namibia were flowing heavily since last week as most parts of the country received rains.

Already rains have affected more than 3??????’??

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