EENHANA - The Ohangwena Regional Coordinator for Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Hidipo Hamata has made an impassioned appeal to the political leadership of Ohangwena to deliver much-needed services to the expectations of residents.
Hamata made this call during the meeting with Ohangwena regional governor Usko Nghaamwa and stakeholders on Tuesday.
During the consultations, the PDM regional coordinator touched on several issues concerning the region. Among the burning ones is the water scarcity, despite identified aquifers in the region.
He said, the region is hit by the current drought which has crippled agricultural production and is still taking a toll on livestock, with no drinking water available as well as grazing grounds.
“Statistics by NSA indicate that more than 70 percent of our region’s inhabitants rely on agriculture as their main economic activity. Water is therefore not only a basic human need for domestic consumption, but it is also an essential component of the region’s main economic activity (agriculture). Meaning that, without consistent and sufficient water supply, the region’s majority inhabitants are well exposed to famine, poverty and health risks that come with lack of water,” stressed Hamata.
According to him, in the previous meeting with the governor, PDM had proposed that government should avail money to invest in developing the aquifer which is estimated to have ability to supply water sufficiently to the northern parts of the country for 200 years or more so that it can supply water for commercial, agricultural and domestic use for the region’s inhabitants and beyond, thus doing away with water shortages currently experienced in the region and to mitigate drought.
“There is a certain councilor who recently organised his residents to dig traditional wells for them to get water. My concern is, this water is not fit for human consumption,” said Hamata.
In his response, Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa said government has done much to combat water predicament in the region and shall continue doing so.
“I understand your concern regarding water from traditional wells not being fit for human consumption, but you have to understand that this water is not only meant for human consumption but it can be consumed by animals and used for other purposes,” said Nghaamwa.
Ohangwena regional head for Rural Water Supply Lazarus Shikololo said, a lot has been invested in water supply in the country since independence.
According to him, a total of 1064 water points were constructed and rehabilitated in the region, whereby 236 are boreholes and 828 are on the pipeline network.
“As from mid-April to end of May 2019, we received huge number of applications for private offtake which is totaling 619. Out of 619 water applications, 498 applicants are connected,” narrated Shikololo.
“We are not sleeping. It’s good that you advised us to source resources to develop the aquifer, but we are already in the process of doing so. It might not happen as fast as you wish, but we are working on it,” said Shikololo.
Another concern raised is lack of accommodation for learners and teachers in the region.
“We have a situation whereby learners attending schools with no hostel are forced to rent or seek accommodations from local households or worse of sleeping in tents erected in open spaces. This situation exposes these unsupervised learners to sexual abuse, crime, extreme weather conditions and health hazards. Such factors contribute negatively to the education of the Ohangwena child,” said Hamata.
He asked the regional leadership to consider erecting temporary accommodation with precast until when the government avails money for construction of permanent hostels.
In his response, regional director of Education, Arts and Culture Isak Hamatwi said, it is a question of resources since the demand for education in the region is quiet high.
“It’s not that nothing is happening. We just completed a school hostel for Dr Abraham Iyambo and very soon Shituwa Secondary’s accommodation will be completed,” said Hamatwi.
PDM also expressed its concern on health matters particularly what it said is the shortage of doctors which continues to be a concern for the region.
Ohangwena Regional Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services John Hango confirmed that Okongo District Hospital does not have a doctor, but they send doctors there every week. He said the ministry appointed someone and this appointee will be deployed soon.
*Hilma Nakanduungile is an Information Officer working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT)