By Chrispin Inambao
Amid concerns that low-lying areas in Caprivi would be swept away by what many fear could be the worst flooding in recent memory, the water level of the Zambezi River has gradually subsided causing partial relief.
Caprivi Regional Governor Leonard Mwilima who chairs the Regional Emergency Unit (REMU) in the far north-eastern region, yesterday said the Department of Water Affairs whose officials compile daily water level readings have indicated a downward shift. A daily chart of the water level in the Zambezi indicates that since the level started to rise last month it reached 6.12 metres on February 25 2008, but it then started to dip.
On February 26 the water level dropped to 6.09 metres and again on February 27 it went down by the same margin, dropping to 6.06 metres and on February 28 it was 5.59 m.
Last Friday this downward hydrographic changed as the water level swelled to 5.92 m though on Saturday this pattern yet again adjusted dropping to 5.89 m and on Sunday the reading was 5.89, while yesterday it dropped further to 5.82 metres, according to Mwilima.
Statistics made available to New Era show that though Caprivi received above average rainfall since the onset of the wet season, the water level in January and February this year was lower when compared to the corresponding period last year and the year before.
For example, the water level on February 1 2007 read 3.00 m compared to the 3.42 m gauged on February 1 2007 and on February 14 this year the level stood at 3.84 m compared to the 5.51 m recorded on the same date last year.
Even the 5.70 m recorded on February 20 2008 is below the 6.76 m for the corresponding date last year. Though floods have not yet reached their peak the subsiding has brought relief.
And in a development related to floods, 15 engines for the 20 horsepower banana boats needed for the 2008 flood evacuation would cost REMU at Katima N$402 780.
And Dr Frank Chitate the head of the Directorate of Veterinary Services has thus far issued permits authorizing many livestock owners to relocate their cattle to dry ground.
REMU officials possibly learning from the drought food debacle that landed several senior officials in hot soup and nearly cost their jobs has resolved it will be meeting every Wednesday to ensure problems of flood and crop failure victims are promptly addressed.