The ministry of agriculture, responsible for water affairs, has managed to mobilise funds so that government can excavate and rehabilitate earth dams in various constituencies in the northern communal areas.
The ministry’s spokesperson Jona Musheko yesterday confirmed that the government secured N$98 million for such an exercise.
This comes after some members of society, especially in the northern regions of Namibia, whined about why the government is failing to harvest floodwater that often occurs in those areas, and to construct dams so that the water can be used later after floods subside.
Since mid-January 2023, water flowing from bordering areas of southern Angola has caused flooding in the northern Ohangwena region. As of 17 January 2023, dozens of homes and businesses have been flooded in several villages in northern Namibia. Four people have reportedly died while crossing flooded areas.
Musheko said they are thus working on a budget of N$32 million for the excavation, construction and rehabilitation of earth dams in the Omusati, Oshikoto, Kavango East and Kavango West regions.
Equally, an amount of N$51 million was mobilised for the Ohangwena region, while the Oshana region will get N$15 million.
“In fact, the Oshana Regional Council has already advertised tenders to begin the process of the excavation, construction and rehabilitation of earth dams,” he noted.
Musheko said due to the economic difficulties that also affected the national budget, the ministry had to prioritise critical ministerial activities such as potable water supply, and they have less funds for the excavation or construction and rehabilitation of earth dams.
“However, despite the above fact and recognising the need to harvest floodwaters, we have managed to mobilise funds so that we excavate or construct and rehabilitate earth dams in various constituencies. We have marked various areas where we can excavate, construct and rehabilitate more earth dams, but such plans can and will only be executed should we get more financial support,” he added.
Over the years, government has constructed, rehabilitated and excavated several earth dams throughout the country, including in the currently-affected regions.
The ministry has earmarked some of these earth dams for refurbishment in the Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions.
Asked how the ministry and other stakeholders currently are assisting those affected by these floodwaters, he confirmed that the ministry recently visited the flood-affected areas in the Ohangwena, Oshana and Omusati regions.
During those meetings, they met with all key stakeholders such as governors, councillors and traditional leaders.
“The findings from these visits serve as recommendations submitted to Cabinet for practical interventions, including mobilising resources to excavate or construct and refurbish earth dams. However, our direct involvement in assisting the victims of the floods is by supplying potable water to the relocated families. Government, through the Office of the Prime Minister (disaster risk directorate), has been mobilising resources such as foodstuffs, mattresses and other needed resources to assist these affected families,” Musheko stated. – firstname.lastname@example.org