Floods account for 11 lives lost

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Aron Mushaukwa

KATIMA MULILO – Eleven people have died in Zambezi Region since the beginning of March this year as a result of floods that have swamped the flood-prone region. The Zambezi River rose to an alarming level this year as it surpassed seven metres, causing one of the heaviest floods the region has ever seen.

Eleven lives were lost through drowning and hippo and crocodile attacks. Among these, two learners from Nsundwa drowned on their way from school when their dugout canoe capsized, while two Zambian nationals died in Lake Lyambezi after they were attacked by a hippo.

Meanwhile, a Namibian fish guard died while on duty after he was attacked and thrown into the water by illegal fishermen from Zambia. The incident happened along the Kalimbeza channel after two Namibian fish guards arrested two Zambian nationals who were found illegally fishing on the Namibian side. However, while they were in the boat the two Zambian nationals attacked the fish guards and overpowered them. One of the fish guards fell into the water and drowned and his body is yet to be recovered. The two Zambian nationals managed to escape and are yet to be arrested.

Speaking to New Era the Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu said that together with a delegation from the Masubia Traditional Authority they visited the affected areas last week with a helicopter and the situation on the ground was not pleasing.

“It is not good to look at some villages – you could see people looking at the helicopter, they were standing in water, it is very bad,” said Sampofu.

But he pointed out that the government is always ready to relocate people during floods, but that can only be done if people are willing to relocate.

“We are always ready to assist those who are willing to move out. Those who don’t want to move we cannot force them, and we know that no one can force them to move. So it’s a very difficult and unfortunate situation,” said Sampofu.

This year three relocation camps were established – at Luhonono, Kalimbeza, and Musanga – where people who relocated were provided with tents. Grade 9 and 10 learners from Muzii Combined School were also relocated to Lusese.

Sampofu said the level of the Zambezi River has started to drop and on Monday it went down from 7.1m to 6.91m. On a positive note there are high hopes that at the end of the floods there will be an abundance of fish in the region as currently there are no fish at all.  With Lake Lyambezi also flooded, hopes are high that by July-August residents will once again enjoy the normally plentiful fish.

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