06 April 2011

Namibia flood updates. Pt.7

update (10 May 2011): The Kunene River Lodge has reopened, but the D3700 between the lodge and Ruacana s in a bad condition. Travellers should be advised to take the C43 from Opuwo to Epembe. From Epembe take the D3701 to the D3700 and Kunene River Lodge.

update II (09 May 2011): The road behind the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay does not exist anymore - except insofar as it can be called a car graveyard. It is not certain how many cars have been buried under the mud there since the Swakop River started flowing strongly over the Easter Weekend, but locals talk about three or four - two VW Golfs, a Mini; and there was even mention of a Land Cruiser.

update (09 May 2011): Conservative estimates point to floods disrupting the lives of between 100 000 and 200 000 people, but experts say the real numbers could be as high as 400 000.

update (06 May 2011): Road conditions: The C28 from Swakopmund to past the Swakop River is still closed.
The C34 between Swakopmund and Henties Bay is very wet and has potholes.Road repairs are being done.
The D1986 north of Walvis Bay (to the Salt Works) is now open to the general public.
The Tsauchab is in flood > the road from the 2x4 parking to Sossusvlei is closed!
The C14 between Walvis and Solitaire is still slippery and wet.
The D1296 between Rietoog & Büllsport is in very bad condition.
The Remshogte Pass between Rehoboth and Solitaire is currently 4x4 only.
The D1275 and the Spreetshoogte Pass are currently closed.
The C19 between Solitaire and Sesriem: The Tsondab River is  flowing intermittently. Please be careful and if in doubt take the detour.
The C13 between Helmeringhausen and Aus is slippery with some potholes.
The C13 between Rosh Pinah and Noordoewer is still CLOSED and is likely to stay closed for quite some time.
The D459, the road to Fish River Lodge and Vogelstrausskluft Lodge, is in a very bad condition.
The C39 between Twyfelfontein & Palmwag can be driven with a 2x4. There is a approx. 30km detour, to bypass a washed away road section.
update (06 May 2011): Drizzle to light rain (update: it must have been pretty heavy rain. At least in certain areas) was reported in the south-eastern part of Namibia over the past two days. Aus village, known as the coldest place in the south, reported the highest rainfall figure of 30.0 mm. Rain was also reported at Keetmanshoop (7.8 mm), Karasburg (1.6 mm), Oranjemund (4.1), Lüderitz (1.9 mm) and Mariental (2.6 mm). Rain in Lüderitz flooded some houses in the Area Seven residential area. The high levels of rivers in northern Namibia are subsiding. Floods are expected in the Fish River downstream of Mariental, while the lower Kuiseb River was again strongly rising at the Gobabeb Hydrology weir at midday on 05 May 2011.
In cooperation with local authorities, UNICEF is distributing emergency supplies including three 10000 litre and ten 5000 litre water tanks, 150000 water purification sachets and 1000 basic family water kits in Northern Namibia.
According to Namibia's Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forests John Mutorwa, the country is staring at food shortages due to the heavy rains and floods received since January, mostly in the eastern and northern parts of the country. 

update (05 May 2011): The flood in Northern Namibia will affect government’s efforts to ensure high vaccination coverage for children under the age of five years since they are at risk of missing their routine schedule of vaccinations.
Although malaria cases in the affected regions are currently below the 2010 level for the same period last year, the large stagnant pools of water will result in increased mosquito vectors. The floods have also caused a slight increase in watery diarrhoea cases in some regions compared to last year but far below epidemic levels.
Namibian expertes expect the rains to continue to June and that they therefore may see greater needs for emergency assistance. The World Health Organization remains vigilant and will continue to provide the necessary support to the Ministry of Health and Social Services and their partners to ensure that the flood-affected people have access to health services.
An alert warning the south of Namibia of heavy rains and flash floods was announced by the Namibia Meteorological Service. The flash floods are likely to occur in local rivers and are not expected to impact on the large border rivers. 

update (04 May 2011): The World Health Organization has received nearly USD 251,000 ( N$1.7m) from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to the health impact of Namibia's worst flooding in decades. The floods have affected more than 230,000 people and as many as 40 health clinics and 180 outreach health points were rendered inaccessible in the regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, and Caprivi. Consequently, many flood-affected people particularly in isolated communities have limited to no access to health care.

update (02 May 2011): UNICEF continues a robust relief operation in the North of Namibia, which has been affected by the heaviest rains and worst flooding in 120 years. In cooperation with local authorities, the agency is distributing emergency supplies to affected families.
With water levels subsiding, stagnating surface water from the floods poses a serious health risk to children and their families, with at least 300 suspected cases of malaria in one region alone and 3,000 cases of diarrhoea, as well as 51 suspected cases of measles, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Extensive damage to roads and other vital infrastructure has cut off many people from essential services. Figures from Ministry of Health show that 29 per cent of health facilities and 51 per cent of outreach centres in the most affected regions are not accessible.

update (28 April 2011): Residents of the small settlement of Ombujondjupa, close to Okakarara (south of Waterberg Plateau National Park, close to the C22/47), have adversely been affected by the torrential rains. A small earth dam, whose banks broke and overflowed this week, aggravated the situation of the inhabitants of this settlement with a constant outpour of water flooding homes. The village is completely under water - the houses, the vegetable gardens, firewood, the crops, the herdland.
Due to poor sanitation, most people use the bush. Hence with the flooding, the possibility of water-borne diseases cannot be ruled out. 

update (26 April 2011): Currently an estimated 29 206 people are in relocation centres, 22 health clinics are under water and 263 schools have been closed, affecting at least 114 000 pupils across 6 regions.
The Office of Namibia's Prime Minister received donations worth millions of dollars from various companies and organisations on behalf of the National Emergency Disaster Fund. The donations will benefit people affected by floods in the northern regions of Namibia.

update (25 April 2011): The C28 between Swakopmund and past the Swakop River is currently closed.
The C34 between Swakopmund and Henties Bay is extremely wet and slippery.
The D1986 north of Walvis Bay annd the Salt Works is still open, but to operators only.
The C14 between Walvis Bay and Solitaire is very slippery and wet. Although the Kuiseb River is flowing it has not reached the level of the Kuiseb Pass bridge.
The D1206 between Rietoog & Büllsport is in a very bad condition.
The C24 (Remshoogte Pass) between Rehoboth & Solitaire is 4x4 only.
The D1275 (Spreetshoogte Pass) is still 4X4 only.
The C19 between Solitaire & Sesriem is wet and slippery. Drive slowly. The Tsondab River is  flowing intermittently. Please be careful and if in doubt take the detour

update (21 April 2011):
Although the rainy season is expected to continue until the end of this month, at least the worst is over as no heavy rains are likely to fall in the flooded regions of Namibia. Water flows are subsiding in the Kunene, Cuvelai, Upper Kavango (Rundu) and Kwando rivers. The final flood wave is expected to reach its peak in the lower Kavango (Andara), Zambezi and Chobe rivers in the coming days.
According to a hydrologist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Leonard Hango, the reports by an international publication that flood water levels in northern Namibia are unlikely to recede for the next three to six months is not correct.
Currently, water levels at different stations were recorded as: Engela Bridge 1.43 m, Shanalumono 1.46 m, Shakambebe 0.56 m, Sky Bridge 1.33 m and Kandjengedi Bridge 1.20 m.

update (20 April 2011): The current rainy season in Namibia, which is only coming to a close at the end of April, has already been the wettest in almost 80 years in parts of central Namibia and in the central north of the country.

update II (19 April 2011): The Walvis Bay Municipality has announced that the water supply situation has been resolved and water is now available 24 hours a day.

update (19 April 2011): The registering of flood-damaged homesteads and mahangu fields started in all four of Namibia's north-central regions last week. Government has made available N$30 million for flood relief. This assistance will include those who lost crops and property in the flood.
The floods in northern Namibia have put the Ministry of Health’s annual National Immunisation Days (NID) campaign on hold.
The Namibia Cares Citizen's Emergency Flood Relief Campaign  was launched in Windhoek to help people affected by the floods in the Oshana, Oshikoto, Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena and Kunene regions. Under the banner of Namibia Cares, a group of people from all walks of life have come together as volunteers to mobilise support of those affected by the floods. Pls check www.namibiacares.com or phone the offices to obtain the banking details for a donation at (061) 2924309 or 2924444 ext 4309.

update (18 April 2011): An estimated 13 000 or more Caprivians are living in emergency camps after they were forced to flee their flooded homes. The number could rise to 20 000 as more people flee their homes and make their way towards tented flood shelters set up by Government and the Namibian Red Cross Society.
The Remshoogte Pass (C24) between Rehoboth & Solitaire is closed again. The D1268 from Mariental to Bagatelle in good condition again. The current water control measures in Walvis Bay will remain in force.
The Ai Aiba Lodge is open, but there are some road damages. The lodge can be reached from Swakopmund via the Spitzkoppe turnoff. A 4x4 is advisable when travelling from Omaruru via the D2315.
The Serra Cafema Camp is closed due to the high water levels of the Kunene River.
Although the Corona Guest Farm can only be reached in a 4x4, but has not experienced problems due to the rain and is operating as normal.
The Noasanabis Campsite is still open and there has been no water damage. The Dordabis/Leonardville road is in a bad condition.
The Hakusembe River Lodge is open and operating as normal, but guests and tour operators are advised to contact the lodge in advance for directions. 

update (16 April 2011): No new heavy rains have been recorded over northern Namibia over the past few days, and flows in the regions of Oshana, Oshiko Omusati, Ohangwena are stabilizing and starting to subside. However, sustained high water tables over the past three years mean that it may take months for the floodwaters to subside completely.
The United Nations Country Team in Namibia urgently appeales for funds in order to support national efforts to assist people affected by floods.They are seeking at least $2.3 million to assist the people who have been displaced due to the flooding caused by heavy rainfall since January 2011

update (15 April 2011): Stubborn floodwaters in Namibia's north will stay up to six months. Flooding in the region has killed 65 people and displaced about 60,000 others. An estimated 228,500 people - about 11 percent of the population - have been affected by flooding. Incidents of diarrhoea had not increased substantially, but as the surface water became stagnant, waterborne diseases like cholera and malaria were likely to appear. In one region alone there had been 300 new cases of malaria.

update (14 April 2011): The Namibia Medical Society (NMS) has joined other donors by offering free medical services to flood victims in northern and northeastern Namibia.
NMS’s "Flood Relief Operation" starts tomorrow. NMS’s chairperson, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said the flood situation poses an increased risk for transmission of water-borne diseases like cholera and Hepatitis A. The floods also pose an increased risk for vector-borne diseases such as Malaria. Diseases such as colds, flues, pneumonia, ear infections and skin conditions also increase under such circumstances.
Haufiku also explained that areas that are in critical need of services have been identified and would be given priority by the doctors. These include the relocated camps in Oshakati and Ondangwa, Indira Gandhi Health Centre in Omusati region and Ondangwa and Ongwediva Health Centre amongst others.
Anybody that wants to be part of the team is urged to contact the NMS at (061) 212413.

Regional emergency officials are battling with unruly behaviour at relocation camps in Northern Namibia as well as alcohol use by relocated people in the Oshana Region, even after water levels in more than two-thirds of the region have subsided. Nobody is allowed to sell or consume alcohol in the camps as it poses a serious risk to the safety of the inhabitants
The Meteorological Service has forecasted that there are late and high floods in northern Namibia, with rain fading away, flows stabilizing and subsiding again in the Cuvelai delta, with water levels seemingly reaching their final peak at Oshakati.
According to Leonard Hango, a hydrologist, water levels yesterday morning decreased to 1.33m (a drop of 4 cm) in Engela, while the Ruacana water levels stand at 6.40 metres, a drop of 6cm.

update (13 April 2011): The Flood Emergency Management Coordination Office (FEMCO) in Oshakati received maize meal and blankets worth N$20 000 from Goal Maize and Moola Mobile. The flood-affected regions will be contacted by FEMCO so that they can identify their immediate needs and the donations will be distributed according to the needs of the respective regions. Various other companies, organisations and individuals are also donating foodstuff and other basic commodities to flood victims in northern Namibia. 

update (12 April 2011): The United States has sent disaster response and food security experts to the affected regions in Namibia to help assess the current situation, and is working closely with the Namibian Government to provide additional help if needed.
Russia has donated goods worth N$5.3 million to boost flood relief efforts in the northern regions of Namibia. The massive consignment arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport already on Saturday.
Botswana donated three-truck loads of blankets, cooking oil, beans, samp and corn meat worth 450 000 pula.
Local businesses also showed their solidarity, with NovaNam donating 3 tonnes of fish products, cooking oil and blankets worth N$30 000. The Namibia Development Company (NDC) donated 18 000 tonnes of this year’s date harvest.
Malaria cases in Northern Namibia stand at 411, of which 12 were reported in Oshana and 399 in Omusati. 42 health facilities are affected and 49 clinics are still not accessible. 34 cases of waterborne diseases were reported, 17 in Oshana and 17 in Ohangwena. 24 roads are not usable.
Kavango - Rundu 8.26 m (+3 cm) – highest was 8.38 m on March 17. Andara 2.69 m (+2 cm) – highest was 2.90 m on March 23.
Water levels at Rundu may again rise to or above 8.30 m in the coming days.
Caprivi - Water level at Katima Mulilo is expected to rise in the coming two weeks and is expected to pass the 7-metre mark. Saturday reading at Katima Mulilo was 6.69 m (+4 cm), at Kongola it was 3.44 m (no change) and at Ngoma Gate it was 4.23 m (+2 cm)
Kunene - Ruacana: 6.88 m (-32 cm). In Kunene, the waterfalls at Ruacana stood at 6.92 metre, while the lower Kuiseb River flows are slowly subsiding, NamWater said. Along the Omaruru River, NamWater informed residents that all water has been released from the Omdel Dam without any flooding risk for Henties Bay.

update (11 April 2011): Currently an estimated 29,206 people in northern Namibia are in relocation centres, 22 health clinics are under water and 263 schools have been closed, affecting at least 114,000 learners across 6 regions (Oshana, Oshikoto, Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati and Ohangwena).

update (08 April 2011):  Namibia is currently facing the heaviest rains in 120 years of recorded weather history. As a result the rain-caused floods have displaced about 30 000 people, inundated 22 health clinics and closed down 263 schools, with more than 114 000 schoolchildren affected.
The fast-rising Zambezi river, fed by copious rain over central and southeastern Angola, continues to threaten the flood-prone Caprivi Strip in Namibia's extreme east. State hydrologist Guido van Langehoven cautioned that yet another flood wave was to be expected. "It is not over yet," he warned.
Swakopmund/Walvis Bay: The road which gives access to the Sandwich Harbour route, Pelican Point, the Saltworks and Paaltjies has been reopened, but for operators only. Activities are resuming. Water control measures in Walvis Bay are still in force!

update (07 April 2011): Unconfirmed statistics from the Namibian Red Cross suggest 37,600 people have been displaced by the floodwater.
The Oshana Health Directorate has warned people in flood-hit areas in Namibia to be mindful of three waterborne diseases, namely cholera, malaria and polio, while medical teams have been dispatched to monitor and support affected areas. Cholera and polio cases from Namibe and Cuando Cubango provinces in Angola respectively were already reported. The two provinces are close to the Namibian border.

update (06 Aprl 2011): Seven regions in northern Namibia are now floodaffected: Kunene, Caprivi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and Oshana. However, information on the full extent of the humanitarian situation is still unclear. Using water levels as a proxy indicator, the situation could be comparable to the one in 2009, when flooding affected an estimated 350,000 people. For example, in 2009 the highest water level reached at Oshakati in Oshana Region was 1.30m, while on 28 March 2011, the water level had reached 1.54 m.

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Flood conditions in northern Namibia are expected to be exacerbated by another flood wave coming from Angola, impacting mainly the western part of Ohangwena and Oshana. It is expected that the water levels in this region will rise again if new heavy rains occur.  The forecast is for more rains in northern Namibia in the coming days, which would worsen the current flood situation further. 
There are also concerns about malaria – 399 cases in Omusati already. There are also reported cases of cholera in Southern Angola on the border with Namibia, sparking fears of a spread.

Big kudos to tourbrief and Reliefweb (and, of course, all other online resources) for keeping us updated regarding the current rain/flood situation in Namibia! Thx!


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