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OPM denies flood victims’ starvation claims

2023-03-10  Victoria Kaapanda

OPM denies flood victims’ starvation claims

ONGWEDIVA - The Office of the Prime Minister has denied claims that flood victims at the Ehenye Relocation Centre at Oshakati are starving.

According to OPM spokesperson Rhingo Mutambo, the flood victims had been given food on five different occasions since their relocation.

Mutambo also refuted claims that the flood victims do not have mosquito nets, citing that OPM has given them 100 mosquito nets.

Those who spoke to New Era said they are starving. 

They asked how they will survive given the fact that selling Tombo and other alcohol is prohibited at the centre.

Paderia Amunyela of Oshoopala said most of them depend on selling kapana, Tombo and other beverages to survive.

“Every day, we are killing snakes. Our children are not safe here. Their beds are broken when we were relocating,” stressed Amunyela.

Maria Nakale also said they do not sleep at night because of the mosquitos.

“We are starving in here. We are unemployed. We also want to go home, but we have no choice,” she added.

One man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government and the Oshakati Town Council were providing aid at first but that has since stopped.

“They just wanted to get money from donors through us,” he said.

Oshakati Town Council spokesperson Katarina Kamari clarified the council is not in a financial position to assist flood victims with food items. 

“But the council, together with Oshana Regional Council, asked assistance from donors for food and other items that the two councils will not be able to assist with,” explained Kamari.

According to Kristophine Nakanduungile, the personal assistant to the Oshana governor, their office did not receive any funds or items for flood victims.

‘’Yes, the central government said it will avail funds, but that did not reach our office yet,” said Nakanduungile.

She said they are aware of the situation at the flood victims’ centre, and submitted all the requests to the central government. The OPM in a media statemnt on Wednesday said upon learning about the floods in the northern parts of Namibia, the government made N$72 million available towards flood relief efforts.

Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee had put measures in place to ensure that the affected residents of Oshoopala township have been relocated to Ehenye Relocation Centre to move them out of harm’s way, with effect from 3 February 2023. A total of 237 people have been relocated, it said.

It is also said since the first day of the relocation, the region has been providing sufficient basic necessities including food items, and firewood to the relocated families.

“Based on our records, we would like to dispel the issue of starvation since food is distributed to the affected families on a weekly basis and when the need arises. We are also certain that there is sufficient food in stock at the regional warehouse in Uukwangula settlement, in Oshana region to cater for flood victims,” said Mutambo.

He added that in the same vein, all the relocated centres received boxes of fish on 3 March 2023, donated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources from Epalela Aquaculture Farm. 

He said a number of various donations were received to ensure that the affected flood victims received basic necessities such as food items, tents, drinking water, hygiene items, and mosquito nets, while at the relocation centres.

“The Office of the Prime Minister has also availed 100 mosquito nets to Oshana region which was distributed at Ehenye Relocation Centre,” he said.

He further said a concern was also raised about the residents of Oshoopala relocating every year due to the flood.

“We are informed that the Oshakati Town Council is in the process of relocating families from flood prone areas, especially Oshoopola, where most residents are affected this year. More than 50 residents were relocated last year alone, and depending on the availability of resources, the process of relocation continues,” he stated.

Hence, the allegations of starvation and lack of basic amenities at the relocation centres are contradicted by strong records we are receiving from the regional government, our own assessment and information from the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee.


2023-03-10  Victoria Kaapanda

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