Namibia braces for worst flooding in living memory, over 70 dead

Namibia braces for worst flooding in living memory, over 70 dead

Drought-stricken Namibia is bracing for the worst flooding in living memory as heavy rains descend on one of the sunniest countries in the world. Authorities warned that the magnitude of flooding expected in the northern central regions is likely to surpass that of 2011, which saw the highest level of flooding in Namibia's recent history.

According to Namibia's Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the disaster risk-management service and country's meteorological services, the flooding in Cuvelai-Etosha catchment has reached alarming levels in recent weeks, with residents being warned to take the necessary precautions in expectation of the worst possible floods experienced in the region in living memory.

In a joint statement, Aljazeera reports, the authorities warned that the magnitude of flooding expected in the northern central regions is likely to surpass that of 2011, which saw the highest level of flooding in Namibia's recent history.

"The 2017 floods are predicted to become even higher if good rains continue, as they are both in the headwaters of the Cuvelai catchments in southern Angola and in the northern border areas of Namibia within these catchments," the statement said.

The situation is predicted to be made worse by the opening of the sluice gates of the Gove Dam. Water from the dam is expected to flood the Kunene River, which in turn will flood parts of southern Angola and northern Namibia.

Video courtesy Aljazeera

Recent heavy rains and floods have reportedly claimed over 70 lives in Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena regions. Over 60 schools in Omusati Region are also reported to have shut their doors, while about some 120 families consisting of 562 individuals have been displaced at Oshakati and temporarily relocated to Ekuku, New Era Newspaper Namibia reports.

Heavy rainfall is forecast for the areas within the Cuvelai Basin, including Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kunene, Kavango East and West and the Zambezi regions and residents of those areas are advised to be on high alert for possible flooding, the paper said.

The main rainy season in Namibia starts in January and ends in April.

Featured image: Floods in northern Namibia, March 2017. Credit: Aljazeera

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