Heavy rains have washed away parts of roads in Kunene and Omusati regions, with the situation envisaged to worsen if the rains persist.
One of the roads affected is the Omakange-Opuwo road, in Kunene, of which a 330-metre stretch was washed away. The road became operational in 2005.
The road was extensively damaged last night.
A part of the Tsandi-Omugulugombashe gravel road was also washed away, Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala told New Era late yesterday.
Endjala said the Roads Authority, the public enterprise entrusted to construct and maintain Namibia’s roads, is yet to determine the cost of the damage.
However, the company has in the meantime sent a team to the affected areas to put up road signs to help prevent accidents and fatalities.
“There is currently no access to the road and the drivers are using a sideway. Drivers are cautioned to be vigilant on that road,” said Endjala.
Senior public relations officer at the Roads Authority Hileni Fillemon said the damage to the Omakange-Opuwo road resulted from a cloudburst.
“A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation in a short period of time, sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, that is capable of creating flood conditions,” Fillemon said.
She said that since the road was completed in 2005 there had been no such big wash-away.
The Roads Authority will ensure accessibility as a matter of urgency. “Signage is currently being erected to warn and direct motorists and the public,” said Fillemon.
The company requests motorists to adhere to the road signs and exercise extreme caution when travelling on the road.
Governor of Kunene Region Marius Sheya said his office has been briefed of the damage and awaits a full report of its extent.
“We received a lot of rain at that area and that damaged the road – however the road is still being used,” said Sheya.
But this is not the first time the road has been damaged by floods. In January 2005 it was damaged after rainwater could not flow through the small culvert built on the then new road, and the Kunene River had swelled after a heavy downpour.
According to a Nampa report from 2004, a joint venture between Burmeister & Partners and Ninhum was responsible for monitoring the work on the Omakange-Opuwo road.
•••• Caption (Omakange-Opuwo road 1)