11 May 2011

Namibia flood updates. Pt. 8

update (14 June 2011): The Hydrological Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry says due to the good rains in the Bloemfontein area of South Africa, the Lower Orange River River at Noordoewer will rise to 5.80 metres by the end of this week.
The Oshana Regional Council will continue to help flood victims in northern Namibia even after they return to their homes. This came to light during a Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee (RDRMC) meeting at the Oshana Regional Council offices last week.

update (10 June 2011): A winter flood wave is heading to the Lower Orange River following torrential rains in South Africa this week. Guido van Langenhove, head of the Namibian Hydrological Services, warned that water levels in the lower Orange River are expected to rise to six and a half metres at Noordoewer by the middle of next week.

update (09 June 2011): People displaced by floods in the wake of this years devastating floods in the Caprivi Region have not yet left the relocation camps. There are about 12000 people in the 13 relocation camps in the Caprivi. People are expected to leave the camps around August and September 2011 when the floodwater would have subsided.
According to Maurus Nekaro, the Kavango Regional Governor, he flood situation in his region is not so serious. "We only had two camps and people have returned home. We never provided them with food because here floods were not serious like in other regions," he said.

update (07 June 2011): The north of Namibia (Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena regions) will experience a water shortage for nearly two weeks due to repair work on the Oshakati-Calueque Water Canal, which got damaged during the devasting floods earlier in 2011. The water restriction started yesterday and is expected to last until June 17. Water would, however, be available between 05h00 and 09h00 in the morning, between 12h00 and 14h00 in the afternoon and in the evening between 17h00 and 21h00.

update (06 June 2011): The Flood Emergency Coordinating Office (FEMCO) has reported that the situation in the north-central regions, which were hit by the worst floods in decades, is returning to normal.
In Omusati, Ohangwena Oshikoto and Oshana the floods have subsided and no new heavy rains have been recorded. The water flow from Angola along the Cuvelai basin has fallen drastically. As a result, some of the communities in the relocated camps are slowly returning to their homes. However, FEMCO said it might take months for the floodwaters to completely subside due to sustained high water tables over the past years.
The flood situation in the Caprivi Region remains the same. Over 12 000 people have been affected. The region is still experiencing some life-threatening situations, as the areas around the flood plains are still flooded.
The Zambezi River level seems to be slowly subsiding but downstream in the floodplains increasingly high water levels are forcing more communities to relocate to higher ground. More communities are being displaced, as the floodwaters continue to rise downstream.
By the end of July the majority of the flood victims at relocation camps in Ekuku, Oshoopala, Oshitayi, Olukono, would have returned to their homes.
Incidents of diarrhoea have not increased substantially, but waterborne diseases like cholera and malaria are likely to break out, as the floodwaters stagnate. In one region alone there has been 300 new cases of malaria.

update (01 June 2011): Namibia's cabinet released N$100 million from the Ministry of Works and Transport’s 2011/2012 financial year to enable the ministry to undertake extensive road repairs after the damage caused by floods and heavy rains.

update (30 May 2011): The Ombadja Traditional Authority has postponed the Omaongo Festival because floodwater levels are still high in the northern regions.
The high profile event, which was scheduled to take place at Okalongo on 21 May 2011, has been rescheduled for 16 July 2011.
This is the second time this year the festival has been postponed. It was supposed to have been held last month but had been postponed to 21 May 2011 owing to flooding.
Omaongo Festival is an annual traditional event, which rotates among traditional authorities in Namibia's northern regions. The event aims at celebrating marula juice, which is considered a delicacy in Oshiwambo culture. The Omaongo Festival usually attracts people from different cultures and leaders of traditional authorities such as Ovaherero, people from Kavango and Caprivi regions.

update (27 May 2011): The Namibia Meteorological Service has indicated in its latest monthly report that the rainy season that large parts of Namibia have been experiencing this year can be attributed to the strongest La Ni-a condition in the Pacific Ocean in at least 35 years.
The popular Fish River Canyon hiking trail in Namibia will be reopened effective 03 June 2011. The trail had been closed due to flash floods which presented a danger to hikers.

update (26 May 2011): The Embassy of France in Namibia has donated N$490000 for the purchase and distribution of basic humanitarian needs for flood victims. The donation will go towards water sanitation and health care.
Although the floods have begun to recede, the donation would supplement other donations and pledges of assistance in view of the ongoing needs of the still displaced families and their continued suffering.
Apart from the N$30 million allocated by the Namibian Government for flood relief, Namibia has received assistance of about N$7 million from numerous organisations to date.

update (25 May 2011): Although the maximum flood level in Namibia reached in 2011 was lower than the highest levels reached in 2009 and 2010, the duration of very high flows was more extended, with the total flow volume being the highest this year.
Kunene River - this year’s flood has been the highest on record.
Omaruru Delta Dam (Erongo Region) - Dam received minimal inflows despite record high rainfall. Water resources for the west coast are being depleted at an alarming rate.
Kuiseb Pass Bridge - Kuiseb river has been flowing without interruption since December 31, 2010. The floods reached the sea and caused repeated major damage to the NamWater water supply infrastructure in the Lower Kuiseb River, which resulted in disruptions of water supply to Walvis Bay.
Hardap Dam (Southern Namibia) - Dam gates were already opened 31 times this year, the last time this month, which is very unusual.
Lower Orange River (Southern Namibia) - The floods in the Lower Orange River were the highest since 1988. Flows are still high, it said, and water levels remain 2.5 metres above normal at Noordoewer.

update (24 May 2011): The road to the famous Sossusvlei has been reopened and visitors can once more enjoy the natural phenomena of the Namib Desert. Access to the vlei was blocked off by the Tsauchab River for a few weeks, following heavy rains and flash floods in the area.

update (23 May 2011): The 4x4 track fron the 2x4 parking at Sossusvlei has dried out, and the pans are accessible again. The Walvis Bay Municipality has announced that the water supply has improved slightly.
water supply closed: 13:00 – 17:30
water supply open: 17:30 – 20:30
water supply closed: 20:30 – 06:00

update (20 May 2011): A total of 37 000 people had to be moved to temporary shelters during Namibia’s flood season this year, with close to 18 000 people still remaining at flood relocation centres. In the Caprivi, 10 954 people are staying in relocation centres; 1 423 in Omusati; 2 760 in Oshana; 833 in Ohangwena, 557 in Oshikoto and 1 028 in Kavango.
Aside from a number of cases of diarrhoea and malaria, the health status in general in the relocation centres remains good.
It is estimated that around 180 000 people have been “directly” affected by the floods, including the 18 000 still living in relocation centres.

update (17 May 2011): The Fish River Canyon hiking trail is still closed until further notice as a result of the strong flow of the Fish River. At Sossusvlei, the Tsauchab River has burst its banks, blocking off the road to Sossusvlei.
The final bill of fixing Namibia's damaged national road network after the rainy season could top N$600 million. The City of Windhoek said the cost of repairing the capital's 750-kilometre road network will be roughly N$15 million.

Blogger was down for some days and removed a couple of post, updates and comments. Therefore some of the recent updates went missing. We are currently not sure if Google's Blogger will be able to restore all posts, updates and comments currently missing. Sorry for that!

update (14 May 2011): Several lodges along the Okavango River which were closed for over two months after being flooded earlier this year, have resumed business but at a slow pace. One of the lodges that resumed normal business activities on last Sunday after being closed since 13 March 2011 this year is the Hakusembe River Lodge, situated some 10km west of Rundu. The road leading to the lodge is still flooded, and guests are being transported to and from the lodge by boat.
The Samsitu Campsite situated next to the Hakusembe Lodge also resumed normal business operations over the weekend, although the road to the campsite is inaccessible as it is still under water.
The Nkwazi Lodge, situated some 10km east of Rundu, is also in business again, but the road leading up to the lodge is still unusable.
Meanwhile, the road leading towards the Sarasungu River Lodge is also still under water, and guests are being transported by boats thereto.
People at relocation camps for flood victims in the Caprivi have complained of hunger since no flood relief food has been delivered to them since last weekend. The reason, according to Caprivi Regional Governor, Lawrence Sampofu, is that
the two boats transporting food to flooded areas have been broken since last Saturday. Food relief food was been delivered to the area the week before...
The Oshana Chief Regional Officer has strongly warned recipients of flood aid against selling the food. Johannes Kandombo said he was recently informed that some flood victims, mostly men, sell flood relief food to buy alcohol.
The culprits allegedly join queues to collect relief food like other flood victims and then sell it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country office in Namibia and the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) announced its joint health strategy to respond to the flood emergency. Both partners agreed for the need to intensify health promotion and hygiene education interventions, strengthen disease surveillance and ensure that communities access health services using both organizations’ key strengths.

(update 11 May 2011): Hundreds of residents in Mariental, about 260km south of Windhoek, had to be evacuated last weekend. Flood waters swept in from the swollen Fish River which burst its banks after the sluice gates at the Hardap Dam were opened. No deaths had been reported, but phone lines were down and power supply to the area disrupted.
Water levels in northern Namibia continue to recede according to the Hydrological Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
The UN has received US$1.1 from the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) that will boost government and international humanitarian efforts in Namibia.
There is improving access to health facilities and outreach points, though a number of unspecified cut off communities still face challenges in accessing health services with a risk of disease outbreak and malnutrition in children.

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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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