Northern squatters exacerbate flooding

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Loide Jason and Helvy Shaanika

Ongwediva-As the north continues to receive good rains more people mostly in Oshakati and Oshikango are being displaced by flood water resulting from recent heavy downpours.

However, local authorities said there is little they could do to help those that are affected, as they are normally taken care of by the emergency unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.

They also pointed out the fact among those affected are those who have set up informal settlements in oshanas.

The Oshakati town council is concerned those that have illegally settled are now demanding to be relocated by council notwithstanding the fact they have illegally settled in flood-prone oshanas.

Furthermore, the town council mostly offers help to residents whose homesteads are seasonally inundated by flood water from Angola.

However the flooding is due to local rains and not water from Angola.
The CEO of the Oshakati town council Werner Iita said normally they relocate people affected by flooding from Angola.

“They illegally erected shacks and now that they are flooded they want to put us under pressure so we should relocate them and give them free tents and free food,” said the CEO.

“We end up wasting the country’s resources. These resources are supposed to be used for something crucial but now it is been used be used for things that are avoidable,” said Iita.

“I want to caution the people that financial resources are very scarce, if people are doing things deliberately, it is not right. Imagine these resources are used to develop the town and now we must divert them to relocate people,” he pointed out.

“These people were not here last October. They know these are oshanas but they settled their anyway. People want to live in water themselves,” Iita pointed out.

Iita said about six shacks are affected and the council advised them to get assistance from their neighbours.

In Ohangwena the location of Katwitwi at Oshikango on the Namibian and Angola border, residents are equally affected.

A number of inhabitants at in that location are street vendors including dozens of traders from Angola.

The Mayor of Helao Nafidi Eliazer Nghipangelwa said his office has not received complaints of people whose homes were flooded, but vendors have been displaced by flooding.

“They will have to wait for two or three days for water to subside,” explained Nghipangelwa.

“But we are concerned that if efundja comes Katwitwi will be heavily affected as usual. Whenever there is flood Katwitwi is always the hardest-hit and this year there is a bigger population than usual. This time around we are however not certain if the flood impact will be the same because Angola recently constructed a track port, which is likely to divert the water flow,” explained Nghipangelwa.

The Mayor further added that in the event of flooding the Office of the Prime Minister through the regional council assist flood victims and not local authorities.

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