By Anna Ingwafa
Seasonal floodwaters locally known as ‘efundja’ have been threatening to swamp the town of Outapi and surrounding villages since last week.
The water believed to be overflowing from the Cuvelai River in Angola is threatening some villages whose residents might be forced to vacate their homes.
Outapi Town Councillor, Taati Shileka, told New Era yesterday that about six families at Ohamuyala village bordering Outapi have been relocated including the village headman Petrus Aipanda.
The Chief of the Ombalantu Traditional Authority, Oswin Mukulu, shelters Aipanda and his family.
Other villages have their huts under water and have found temporary shelter with neighbours.
The Mayor of Outapi, Mathew Ndeshitila, says houses in town especially those behind Tona Complex are surrounded by water though the interior is not affected.
More than 20 informal settlers from Okashonghi B near the town hospital, including some learners at David Sheehama Secondary School who did not get places in the hostel, have been relocated to Tobias Hainyeko settlement.
Those relocated are being sheltered in tents provided by Ministry of Agriculture and the Ongwediva Town Council.
The emergency fund provided money for food but the funds, according to Ndeshitila, are not enough.
He said Outapi is prone to flooding due to a lot of ponds ‘oshanas’ that surround the town. Fortunately, there is a canal that lets through floodwater without causing a lot of damage to houses and other property.
The mayor thanked Outapi police for helping motorists near Helmut Bridge, where water has spilled onto the road.
Also threatened are schools near the Angolan border. Schools such as Olukekete Combined, Okapopo Primary, Oukwandongo Combined, and Omafa Combined Moses Aihalu Primary were closed from February 4 to 8 because of floodwater. Other schools – Okanimekwa Combined, Omufituweelo Primary and Okaelona Primary – are already affected.
Floodwaters have destroyed textbooks and school furniture at Osisia Primary School, about 25 km north of Outapi.
According to the Inspector of Outapi Circuit, Helena Ipinge, these schools will remain closed until the water subsides to allow learners and teachers to cross.
She appealed to the Government and other stakeholders to help with canoes for learners and teachers to reach their schools.