Heavy rains hamper power supply to remote areas

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Helvy Shaanika

Ongwediva-Close to 50 villages in the north are facing possible electricity supply cut-offs following heavy rains and floods.

Severe downpours and floods uprooted electricity poles, and roads to the areas are submerged by water, which make it impossible for Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) technicians to go and do the necessary repairs to electricity supply infrastructure.

The hardest hit villages appear to be in Outapi and Oshikuku constituencies in Omusati Region where close to 50 villages are affected, areas in Oshakati East in Oshana Region as well as villages in Omungwelume, Engela and Onekwaya West constituencies in Ohangwena Region.

Nored’s public relations officer Herman Ngasia told New Era that technicians are unable to access some areas where infrastructure is under water or where access roads have been washed away.

He said in the event that infrastructure is under water there is little that can be done, apart from switching off power supply in affected areas until water levels subside because of the inherent dangers.

However, in certain areas damaged infrastructure can be repaired and Ngasia thus pleaded with communities in affected areas to direct Nored officials to earth roads used by communities during flooding for them to be able to access damaged infrastructure.
Ngasia confirmed that Omusati Region has the most villages affected by the crisis, followed by Oshana Region and then Ohangwena Region.

Recently heavy rains destroyed six poles at an area between Sesfontein and Otuani, about 80km from Opuwo. The damage left at least 10 villages without electricity and the road to the affected areas was also ruined. Ngasia said Nored managed to access the area and replaced the destroyed poles, and electricity is on again.

The northern regions are currently experiencing floods which emanate from southern Angola that came about as a result of good rains. In some areas good rains were also accompanied by heavy storms that destroyed electric poles and other electrical infrastructure.

Ngasia urged community members not to cross water near areas with damaged infrastructure as they can easily be electrocuted.

The Nored PRO further urged communities to report damaged infrastructure to Nored as well as to report people that vandalize infrastructure to the police.

“Electricity is essential for development – you cannot do anything without it. For you to have a hospital, schools, and for one to communicate you need electricity. So people should stop vandalizing infrastructure,” he said.

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