NAMIBIA: Flood emergency declared

* 92 drowned
* 218 schools closed; 100 000 affected
* 729 households in Kavango affected
* 85% of gravel roads affected
* No access to ARVs, chronic treatment and immunisation

FOR the second time in jus

The current floods could be one of the worst such disasters in recent
memory. Certainly, it is worse than the floods that occurred last year
when I declared an emergency situation in the affected areas, Pohamba
told a media briefing at the old State House in Windhoek yesterday.

Pohamba confirmed that 92 people have drowned while citizens in the
Caprivi and Kavango have fallen victim to attacks by crocodiles and

The destructive nature of the floods is apparent for all to see. This
is indeed one of the most destructive forces of nature, the Head of
State said.

Last year at the same time Pohamba also declared an emergency when Government failed to deal with the floods in the same areas.

Floods have caused extensive destruction to homes, schools, health
facilities, mahangu and maize fields, businesses as well as
infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

The floods have caused a setback to Government efforts to strengthen
food security by assisting subsistence farmers to produce more staple
food, Pohamba said yesterday.

During the planting season, Government provided subsidies to farmers to
buy seeds and they were also assisted with ploughing and planting.

We had high hopes that these joint efforts by our Government and the
farmers, coupled with early rains in crop-growing areas, would result
in a bumper harvest during the 2008-2009 season. Regrettably, the
floods came and destroyed much of this hard work, Pohamba said.

Government had earlier also set aside and used N$200 million from the
contingency fund to buy drought-relief food for distribution among the
needy but then the floods came and halted everything.

We have some little money [left], Pohamba said, adding that it is not
enough for comprehensive assistance to the affected people.

I call on the international community to assist our Government in this
present crisis and its aftermath. The Namibian people will need your
support in the rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed by the
floods, he said.

He said the rehabilitation of roads, bridges, schools and health facilities are the top priorities.

In addition food items, medicines, water purification tools, mosquito
nets, bedding and other supplies are also needed, he said.

Pohamba directed Government to buy more motorboats with the assistance
of donors to facilitate the distribution of emergency supplies and the
evacuation of people in need.

He said many crop fields in the Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena
and Oshana regions were submerged and large quantities of cereals will
have to be sourced in order to prevent widespread hunger.

In this context we must act quickly, the President said.

The Namibian

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