By Chrispin Inambao
Hundreds of secondary and primary school learners and dozens of teachers will soon be evacuated from schools severely affected by floods in eastern Caprivi.
Caprivi Regional Governor, Leonard Mwilima, made the announcement during an interview with New Era last Friday.
The ruling Swapo Party politician said the Regional Emergency Management Unit (REMU) has beefed up its activities and is “very closely” monitoring the flood situation to ensure those in need are assisted promptly.
Among those to be relocated are 361 learners and 12 teachers from Muzii Combined School as well as 288 learners from Ikaba Combined School and 11 teachers who would be transported to Dr Sam Nujoma Combined School.
About 46 learners and two teachers from Iivilivinzi Primary School would be relocated to Lusese, he said.
Fifty-eight learners and two teachers at Mpukano Primary School would be evacuated to Lusese Primary School. Also to be relocated are those at Nankutwe with 207 learners and a staff complement of 10 teachers and Namiyundu with 131 learners and three teachers to be relocated to Schuckmannsburg Combined School. While 125 learners and five teachers at Malindi will be relocated to Isize from the initial evacuation of Dr Sam Nujoma because Malindi falls under the Isize education cluster.
In addition to the current places identified as evacuation points, REMU at Katima Mulilo, of which Mwilima is the chairperson, is also considering Kasika and Mbalasinte as temporary relocation centres, according to the Caprivi Regional Governor.
“All these schools at Nankuntwe, Namiyundu and Mpukano are cut off by flood waters,” the regional governor elaborated. He said bureaucracy at the Emergency Management Unit (EMU) in Windhoek somehow hampers current flood alleviation strategies because REMU has requested for authorisation from EMU in Windhoek and this is often painstaking and time consuming.
“Another big problem we have to deal with after the relocation is the feeding of all these learners because when people are grouped together, there are many factors that come into play and that is why the Ministry of Health is one of our big partners,” said Mwilima.
Other partners mentioned by the governor in the ongoing flood mitigation mission are the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS), UNICEF and the various ministries.
“This flood is not in Kabbe Constituency only as almost the entire region is affected. Crops are under water at Lyambezi in Muyako and at Linyanti, Kapani, Mbilajwe and Malengalenga,” he stated.
Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni, the Mafwe leader whose traditional palace is at Choi also appealed to residents of Singalamwe, Sikaunga, Sisheke, Choi and Ngonga to start evacuating from flood areas to higher dry ground as a matter of urgency to minimise casualties from floods and crocodile attacks.
In reference to record flooding of 1958 and 1978, he appealed to his subjects to start scouting for dry areas saying, “history could repeat itself and the people should know these areas could soon be cut off and be swamped. We urge them to start moving to their original villages on upper ground lest they also become part of the flood statistics.”
“They must immediately start moving with their cattle and should not wait for the Government helicopters to evacuate them,” said the chief, who advised parents to discourage their children from swimming in floodwaters because they are full of crocodiles and venomous snakes.
Last Wednesday he said an unsuspecting villager wadding in flood waters near a hut nearly lost his life when what appeared like a floating log suddenly sprung to life, its crunching giant jaws missing the trembling villager by a few inches.
Chief Mayuni said he is concerned after he saw a group of children splashing in floodwater last week, which could easily attract crocodiles.
And Peter Mwala, the ruling Swapo Party Councillor for Kabbe, yesterday said all learners and teachers from Nankuntwe Combined School have been relocated to Schuckmannsburg in an exercise that started on Saturday.
He said the evacuation involved six banana boats that had to be paddled, as some of the flooded areas were too shallow and swampy for motorised boats.
He said other schools would be evacuated shortly.
Some villagers are usually reluctant to shift from villages in flood areas to upper land because of an abundance of fish and other seasonal delicacies that come with floods.