Residents of the Epalela area of Omusati Region have blamed Namwater for pumping too much water into the canal between Oshakati and Calueque, causing an overflow of water that flooded homesteads and mahangu fields.
At least 220 people from Omangolowani, Ontonko and Omakuwa villages are affected and were displaced as a result of the flooding. A number of the displaced from 17 households claim damage to their homesteads, including food storage, clothing and beddings.
The villagers, with the help of Omusati Regional Council, have since been accommodated at Epalela Settlement.
Hydrologist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Leonard Hango confirmed that the water that flooded villagers at Epalela area indeed came from the canal.
“Yes, what flooded the people is not floods from Angola. Namwater over-pumped water from the river, resulting in the overflow of the canal. The water damaged the embankments of the canal and flowed into oshanas and people’s fields.”
Hango said the overflowing of the canal is linked to the dilapidation of the canal, as it is not in prime condition.
According to him, if the canal were in a good condition, water would not have run out of the canal. Hango further said temporary water channels to draw water from the affected area to Etaka Dam have been dug.
Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala also confirmed Hango’s sentiments, adding that apart from water overflow from the canal, the area also received “abnormal rains” following the reported deluge in southern Angola. .
He further added that the canal is very old and was not constructed with the prospect of heavy rains and overflowing in mind.
“That canal is over 50-year-old,” he noted. Endjala said ever since temporary water channels were dug, the water in the villages has subsided and a number of people have been able to return to their homes.
“A company called Nasria came to their rescue and provided them with 55 matrasses of different sizes and 100 blankets. Even if some blankets were washed away, that problem was at least solved. The regional council took care of the food,” Endjala explained.
Apart from the 220 people driven from their homes by the flooding in Epalela, a further 149 people from 50 households in Etunda were also displaced, bringing the number of displaced people in Omusati to 369. The victims at Etunda area were flooded by water from southern Angola. Both Hango and Endjala confirmed this.