Debilitating floods hit northern and central Namibia

Namibia floods

Namibia floods

More than 62 people have drowned this year and some 37 thousand have been made homeless as a result of flooding in Namibia.

The rains are the heaviest on record in the south-west African country.

Gerry Adams reports.

SFX: CHILDREN PLAYING

Children at play at the Leo Shoopala Camp in Oshakati, one of the towns hardest hit by the crisis.

Eight year old Hil-ma Mho-lon-GE-la spends her days playing games because she can’t go to school. She’s one of over a thousand students affected. Hilma and her mother, Eva, had to flee their home when it flooded. They found refuge in the camp. This is the third year the school has had to close because of the floods. But this time, Eva says, it’s worse.

SOUNDBITE (Oshiwambo) Eva Mholongela, Flood Victim:
“We don’t know when to return to our homes. We normally go to our house to assess whether the water has gone down.”

The disruption of children’s education is just one side effect of these floods.

SFX: HELICOPTER CIRCLING

The damage in the northern part of Namibia is assessed by helicopter. Roads, bridges, homes and staple crops in all six northern and north eastern regions in Namibia have been damaged.

The Namibian Government declared a state of emergency at the end of March and has allocated over $4 million to the crisis. Elina Ninkoti is a social worker with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

SOUNDBITE: Ninkoti:
“It’s worse than any previous floods that we’ve experienced. Some people that were never affected before were affected.”

SFX: PEOPLE TALKING

Thousands of people are now crowded into relocation centres.

SFX: PEOPLE TALKING

The displacement of people has sparked health concerns; cases of cholera have already been reported in southern Angola, which borders some of the affected regions.
Overcrowding in the centres, coupled with inadequate water and sanitation facilities, could cause outbreaks of diarrhoea and the spread of communicable diseases.
Elhadj As Sy is the UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“Immunization of children it’s important, making sure that we do not have experiences of diarrhea and other forms of water borne diseases and better sanitation facilities. But this is a population that needs to be protected at this particular point in time to make sure young girls are taken care of in a vigilant manner; that they are not mixed with adolescent of a certain group. We need to make sure they are also in a place where they will not fall prey to some other abuses that may happen.”

Aid agencies like UNICEF continue to provide support.

SFX: RAIN
But more rain is predicted, which could worsen an already desperate humanitarian situation.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 2’49″

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