Windhoek – Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba Tuesday declared a state of emergency in northern parts of the country after heavy flooding displaced nearly 10 000 people and washed away roads. “I and my cabinet colleagues have discussed the prevailing situation in depth, consulted various experts… and I have come to the conclusion that I declare an emergency situation in the north and northeastern parts of our country,” Pohamba said.
About 62 people have drowned in Oshakati, 720km north of the capital Windhoek and 5 000 have been driven from their homes.
Pohamba told reporters that 247 schools had had to close because of rising water levels, with clinics and homes submerged.
Since January heavy rains have been pounding the northern parts of the country, resulting in high water levels in the Zambezi river along the northeastern Caprivi region and the Okavango river which borders Angola.
“Namibia is once again experiencing most devastating floods… this could be the worst flood disaster in (its) recorded history,” Pohamba added.
He said he was worried that floods may affect crops of maize, which is the country’s staple food, and the government has made available N$30m to address the emergency.
More rain in southern Angola was expected to increase chances of flooding in north central parts of the country, where rainfall is also expected.
In March 2009, floods killed 92 people in this southern Africa desert country.