By Kuvee Kangueehi
The floods that have displaced thousands of people in northern Namibia have turned into a health hazard at the town of Helao Nafidi after flooding a sewage pump at the town.
The flooding of the pump has led to the sewage effluent mixing with the rainwater, thus contaminating the water, which could lead to the outbreak of disease.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Helao Nafidi Town, Chris Shivolo, told New Era that the flooded sewage pump is situated in a low-lying area.
He noted that some people at the town are using this water for drinking and washing. The water is also given to animals to drink and since it is contaminated, it poses a serious health hazard.
He warned the residents not to use rainwater but only tap water for consumption and other household uses. He also advised children not to play in the rainwater that has been contaminated.
Shivolo said due to the flooding, the sewage pump has been switched off as it cannot run under water and that some areas have been affected.
He, however, noted that the town is coping well with the worst floods it has experienced since coming into existence and has relocated more than 200 people.
Shivolo said the flood victims have been given temporary shelter at Oshikango where the council has put up 17 tents and mobile toilets.
He added that the town council together with the Namibia Red Cross Society and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) are supplying firewood and food to the flood victims daily.
The CEO said the local business community has been slow in assisting the flood victims and only one businessman, Asser Haimbodi, has donated to the victims.
Haimbodi, who owns Mini Save at the town, supplies bread daily and has also donated sugar and cooking oil.
With more floodwater expected from Angola, Shivolo said, the town council is meeting officials from the OPM and Red Cross to plan the way forward.
He noted that Oshikango would be the first town to be flooded by the second wave of floods hence council is planning to take precautionary measures to minimise flood effects on the residents.
He said what worsens the situation is that most roads have been damaged and some areas are not accessible by road. It is therefore difficult to render assistance to some of the victims.
The CEO said the floods and heavy rains have curtailed the movement of people between Namibia and Angola, adding that there is still enough scope for businesses to operate.