Flood destroys crops in Ohangwena

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Nuusita Ashipala

Onaame-Prospects of a good harvest have disappeared for many subsistence mahangu farmers in various villages in Ohangwena Region as their crops are currently submerged in floodwater.

Crops have turned yellow and villagers whose livelihoods depend on mahangu as a staple food have abandoned their fields, bracing themselves for the hard times ahead.
Farmers said the situation does not only threaten their food security, but also affects them emotionally as last year’s harvest was also next to nothing because of the recurring drought.

Secilia Shivaleni said 70 percent of her field is under water with some parts of the field being chest deep.

“I have stopped monitoring the water levels as some areas are really too deep and since some parts of the field are too clay-like it makes accessibility difficult,” lamented Shivaleni.

Apart from the destroyed mahangu crops, the watermelons in her field have been washed away.

When the flood first hit her crop field, Shivaleni said, she attempted to salvage some mahangu “but should I have known I would have just planted sorghum because it can survive the water.”

Because of the drought experienced in the last three years, Shivaleni like many other farmers could not secure much from her crop fields.

Livestock are said to have equally suffered because there was no water in the area.Still in the same village, Rosalia Kalumbu’s field is also surrounded by water. She said six of the nine hectares she ploughed this year are under water.

“It is so disheartening – so much money has gone to waste and so much harvest has been destroyed,” said Kalumbu.

Kalumbu said should it not have been for the flood, she would have had a good harvest this year.

Apart from the destroyed fields, learners from the area now walk vast distances to get to Okelemba Combined School as the usual way to school is under water.
In Oshana Region seven villages in Ongwediva Constituency are completely cut off by the raging floodwater.

Ongwediva Constituency Councillor Andreas Uutoni said although the field crops are not affected, access to and from the village is prohibited because the villages are surrounded by water.

Uutoni appealed to the elderly, people with disabilities and the sick in the villages surrounded by water to find shelter elsewhere while the water subsides as rescuing them is difficult.

On Monday, the councillor, police officers and an ambulance came to the rescue of 99-year-old Magreth Niitemo who was ailing at her home at Onheleiwa village.

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