Floods cause havoc in Omusati

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By Nuusita Ashipala

OKAHAO – Several families of three villages in Omusati Region have been left in despair following heavy flooding in the area.
Villagers have been forced to relocate and saw their crops ruined after floodwaters ravaged their homesteads.

Some of the villagers have moved into shacks they erected on higher ground where their mahangu fields are, to escape the water.
The villages are Omuthitu, Okanya and Okaloko in Okahao Constituency. The flooding began last week.

But many residents of Omuthitu and Okaloko are still trapped in their villages because their escape route to town has been blocked by the floodwaters.

The villagers are appealing to the constituency councillor to widen the culverts under the bridge, which are meant to ease the flow of water.
Currently residents are trying to make use of an area specially marked out to either go to town or school. But crossing through the waters is not easy and residents are using palm tree branches as pokers to help them get through the water.

Meanwhile, some of the community have expressed their anger at businessman David Kambwa Sheehama of Kambwa Trading, who is accused of interfering with the community’s attempt to unblock the water so that it flows out of the area.

“So far we have unblocked the water twice. However, when we unblock the water Kambwa brings his tractor and blocks the water again, is it because he is on high land?” charged a community member, with others in full agreement.

Aina Kapenambili whose house is surrounded by water said she had to send her grandchildren to Uukwaluudhi fearing they might drown.
“This is scary, I am shivering. One wonders where one will eat from because even the fields are under water,” said Kapenambili.
Martha Iiyambo said they are suffering immensely.

“Those of us who are close to the oshana are really suffering. The children attending Onambaza Combined School will have a hard time going to school if the level of the water continues to rise,” said Iiyambo.

Helena Shiindi who related her and the neighbours’ ordeals said her family of four has also relocated to a shack on higher ground. She said their house and silos were flooded and submerged.

According to Shiindi the only solution is to relocate their home to where the shack is.

Another affected family, of three, has also relocated to a shack on higher ground in their mahangu field. Fenni Shaanika said her whole house including her bedroom was flooded hence she was left with no option but to relocate.

Shaanika said she doesn’t know where she will get food from this year because one of her silos was pushed over by the strong-flowing floodwaters while another is damaged and wet at the bottom.

“What could I do? This one is full (pointing to the silo that is affected at the bottom) but the mahangu grains are wet,” said Shaanika.
Similarly, even the mahangu crops in the field are damaged. “They are now just red, one wonders if they will survive the water, so that one can yield a positive harvest,” said Shaanika.

Unanimously villagers affected directly and indirectly are appealing to Kambwa to stop “blocking” the water from flowing further. They said it is not the first time that the area is flooded but in the past years the water never dammed up in one area. “It usually flows out,” said a community member.

Kambwa is said to get building sand from Okathitu that he apparently uses at his businesses or sells to the community, hence his business has been temporarily closed down because the trucks cannot get to the other side.
Attempts to get hold of Kambwa for comment were futile as his cellphone went unanswered.

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