Zambezi governor issues flood alert

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek – The Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu has warned that the Zambezi River could come down in flood and hence urged villagers in Kabbe South Constituency to move to higher ground.

In an interview with New Era yesterday Sampofu advised thousands of villagers in the flood-prone Kabbe to prepare themselves and their belongings to move to higher ground as the water level of the river is rising. The water level of the Zambezi River stood at 1.35m yesterday, which Sampofu described as “fast rising”.

“We might have floods early this year. On Wednesday we will have a risk disaster management committee meeting so that we start to prepare ourselves for any floods because we might have serious problems. It’s raining too much both in Angola, Zambia and upper Zambezi.”

Asked on humanitarian assistance, he noted the ferry christened Richard Kabajani and banana boats and tents are available for any eventuality. He however said the meeting would iron out logistics such as food and school relocation preparations.

According to him, relocation camps will be set up in Kabbe North and Kabbe South as was done during previous flooding.

“We are ready for the floods. We have enough tents for relocation. We are calling upon our people to start moving now to higher ground. They shouldn’t wait, the rain is just too much.

They should also move their animals to higher ground before disaster strikes,” he warned.

He could however not confirm whether the water is running in streams leading to villages in the epicentre of the flood zone, such as Schuckmannsburg, Namiyundu, Nankuntwe, Muzii, Mpukano, Masiliki, Ivilivinzi, Lisikili, Imukusi and Nfoma.

In March 2014, close to 5 000 villagers affected by floods in both Kabbe constituencies were evacuated to relocation camps on higher ground within the constituencies.

As roads become difficult to access, evacuation teams normally ferry villagers up to Mwandi border post in Zambia, from where the authorities transport them through Zambia to the Wenela border post to relocation camps in Zambezi.

The evacuation typically starts with learners, teachers and teaching materials, followed by other community members and their belongings.

The Namibia Meteorological Service warned that heavy rain of more than 50mm was expected in the central-north and north-eastern regions yesterday, urging people to take the necessary precautions.

Sampofu said that since beginning of December it has been raining heavily, which has affected many farmers as their crops are submerged.

“We expected a bumper harvest but the problem is that too much water has submerged some fields. Crops are not germinating. Some people will have to re-plant. For the past ten days we didn’t see the sun,” he revealed.

Regarding the alleged African worms attacking crops in the region, the governor said the worms have not started to attack produce, as they are in the soil.

‘The worms were reported by two farmers last week from Katima Rural. They said the worms are not attacking – they are still in the soil. We haven’t received any report from farmers that their crops are being attacked by these African worms,” he said.

According to him, technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry are on the ground for any outbreak and are also busy educating farmers on how the worms operate.

However, he said army worms are reported to be on an attacking mission in neighbouring Zambia, but have not reached Namibia yet.

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