OKATUMBA-WEST - The community of Okatumba-West will soon have water again after their borehole was washed away by flash floods nearly 10 years ago.
Immanuel Nafele, director of planning and development services in the Kunene Regional Council, confirmed that a contractor was finally appointed and taken to the site on Wednesday.
The contractor was accompanied by staff members of the regional council to mobilise the community to clear the road for it to be easily accessible for trucks.
The community will clear the road through the Food-for-Work programme.
Okatumba-West is located about 120 kilometres from Opuwo, but accessibility to the village was a challenge due to the bad road. The community has since then been without water. Last year, the regional council allocated funds for the drilling and installation of a borehole. However, contractors either turned down the offer, or those that accepted the award abandoned the project without even reaching the site.
“A number of companies applied, and a contract was awarded. However, the first contractor turned down the offer. The next contractor also turned down the offer, while the third one accepted the award, but on their way to Okatumba, their tyres were damaged. Due to this, they cancelled the contract because they said they will not make any profit,” Nafele explained.
Speaking during a community meeting with the stakeholders from various offices in Kunene, Ngaverapo Tjipuriro said they earlier used donkeys to transport their water. However, due to the drought, the animals died. They now walk long distances to collect water at nearby villages. Tjipuriro told the stakeholders that some community members have also migrated because of this situation.
He indicated that as a community, they were once told that the truck is coming to drill, but it never reached its destination.
“They said they were lost and ended at Omuhiva, and that because the road is narrow, the truck could not fit. Their tyres were also damaged by the rocks,” Tjipuriro stated.
Kavepandua Tjambiru said developments such as a clinic and other services cannot come if the community does not have water. Other challenges the community faces is a lack of communication networks, which makes it difficult to access help during emergencies.
Although the community is affected by drought, Watjakana Tjipombo highlighted that all they are requesting is for their community to have water.
Nafele noted that once the community clears the road as per the contractor’s instruction, they will notify the contractor to start work.
* Cecilia Xavier Works for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Opuwo.