42 killed in Namibian floods, thousands displaced

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Floods have killed 42 people and displaced thousands this year, officials said, warning that more flooding was expected in the flood ravaged northern and eastern parts.

Officials said that 4,500 people had been displaced by floods in the usually dry northern parts of Namibia following heavy rains in neighbouring Angola which led to the devastating floods.

Gabriel Kangowa, head of the Emergency Management Unit of Namibia, said that heavy rains in the northern neighbouring country, Angola, and torrential rains in Namibia turned the usually dry flood plains into raging rivers, washing away vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and clinics.

The floods have claimed 42 lives and forced the closure of schools and clinics, creating a health hazard, Kangowa said.

He said that most victims were children of school going age who were sometimes c aught wading through the flooded rivers and plains to and from school.

“People are used to walking through the floodplains, but this time they are much deeper than before. We have had lots of drowning at night, when people can’t se e where they are going,” Kangowa said.

Government started airlifting supplies to more than 250 000 people who have been cut off due to the floods.

Hydrology officials also warned Tuesday that more floods should be expected following three-week, non-stop rain in Angola’s southern Cunene province, which borders Namibia.

The region, which feeds the Cunene river, which flows into Namibia, has received non-stop rain for the past three weeks, said a meteorological official Guido van Langenhove.

The end is not yet in sight, Langenhove said, adding that more floodwater should be expected in the already waterlogged northern parts of the country.

“The Cuvelai area is a disaster, the floods are at the highest level we have eve r seen in over 35 years,” he said. The Cuvelai is situated just inside the Angolan border, a short distance from Namibia’s northern town of Oshakati.

Currently flood water has enveloped the area surrounding Oshakati, forcing villa gers from the surrounding area to brave flooded plains to reach the town.

Most of the people affected by floods survive on subsistence farming and continued rains could worsen their food supply situation. Panapress

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