Floods Batter Development Targets

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

This year’s severe floods in the country will have an undermining effect on Namibia’s efforts to achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), says the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi.

Kamwi, who was speaking on Monday at Rundu, said floods have made the affected population vulnerable to poverty and ill health.

“This is indeed a set-back in our efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals,” the minister said.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba early this year expressed serious concern about the pace at which the country is moving in terms of achieving MDGs.

He said there are increasing indications that the world is facing development emergencies, particularly in poor developing countries.

While Namibia has made progress in the health, education and other critical sectors, this year’ floods will have detrimental effects on efforts aimed at reaching targets as stipulated in the MDGs document.

In the area of health, malaria cases in the northern regions are reported to have reached 2 232. According to Dr Naftali Hamata, seven people have died of malaria since November last year.

Equally, suspected cholera cases continue to rise.

In total, about 71 413 people are affected by floods in northern Namibia alone.

About 1131 houses are affected and mahangu fields covering 146 385 hectares have been destroyed by water.

According to Flood Emergency Management Coordinator Erastus Negonga, 18 554 cattle, 10 702 goats, 1 949 donkeys, two horses and 314 sheep, have died.

In terms of the road infrastructure, 30 roads and bridges have been washed away while 91 schools are affected. This situation disrupted learning as 17 114 learners were temporarily kept out of school.

These statistics show the extent to which efforts aimed at addressing poverty in these regions have been affected.

The Ohangwena Regional Poverty Profile shows that 80 percent of the region’s population depends heavily on subsistence farming. Poverty levels stand at 31.2 percent.

Fifty percent or more of the population in the Kavango and Omusati regions equally live in poverty, the UNDP 2007 report reveals.

These regions’ poverty profile is likely to change for worse especially that floods came immediately after drought harshly swept through the affected areas.

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