Ohangwena to host Urgent disaster
risk management meeting tomorrow

Martin Endjala

The Ohangwena Regional Council has called an urgent extra-ordinary Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee meeting (RDRMC) tomorrow, amidst the flash floods in the region.

The meeting will take place at the Eenhana Convention center, with the aim of discussing interventions to mitigate the situation and possible measures, Chief Regional Officer Fillipus Shilongo said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform today said that no fatalities or damages to infrastructure have been reported due to the ongoing flood in Ohangwena region.

Ministry Spokesperson Jona Musheko has since called on people to take their livestock to high grounds, escort children when crossing or alternatively make use of safer routes as they travel to school.

The region has been battling with flood water from the South of Angola due to heavy rainfall.

He stressed that their preparedness is limited to alerting the public on possible flooding, areas where it is happening and the flood’s possible magnitude. He said the actual emergency response lays with the Office of the Prime Minister Disaster Risk Management.

“I know as we speak, OPM, should be making arrangements on how to assist the affected communities”, Musheko added.

He maintained given the increase of flood water many have embarked on fishing and catching frogs, while children embark on swimming activities while some cross through water to go to school which can be very dangerous.

Given the Ohangwena region flooding, residents are urged to be very careful particularly in areas surrounded by plenty of water.

Flowing oshanas are said to be very dangerous, hence the need to reiterate their caution, encouraging residents to stay away from water.

“Parents are also being encouraged to to educate and deter children from playing, crossing and swimming in the water unless supervised. One life lost is one too many, let us be careful and save lives”, stated Musheko.

Sergeant Andrew Nghiyolwa of the Namibian Police in Ohangwena region, also confirmed that they have not received any reports of persons drowning in the region due to flooding. He says an update will be given, should a drowning incident occur.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi has confirmed a drowning incident in Ohangwena region, in which a 10 year old girl drowned in an earth dam after she was fishing with other children.

The incident, she says happened at Omungwelume village on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashandi reassured that they are currently monitoring the situation with the help of the Namibian Defense Force helicopter monitoring the water, and are ready to step in to aid those at risk.

Nashandi thus indicated that as per the current observations on the ground, the situation is still calm, and at the moment their main focus is not on infrastructure damages but rather on protecting and saving lives.

The ED is advising education authorities to sensitize communities on to stay away from taking risks and to use alternative routes.

While also urging them that children who are unable to find alternative routes to school, should be allowed to stay home until the water subside or an alternative is found.

“We are not in support of the circulating photos of school going children crossing, such high levels of water must be avoided at all costs”, Nashandi emphasized.

Additionally, the OPM disaster management Nashandi said, it is ready to step in to reallocate people to higher grounds if the situation escalate and also provide food amongst others.

By Observer