Nearly 100 dead in Namibia’s worst floods in decades

March 19th, 2009 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Windhoek, March 19 (DPA) Residents of the south-west African desert state of Namibia are bracing for what could be “the worst flood in four decades” in the north of the country, local media reported Thursday. The flood waters have already claimed close to 100 lives.
Earlier this week, Namibia’s government declared an emergency and appealed for international aid over the floods that have displaced over 5,000 people and destroyed vast tracts of precious farmland.

The northern Kavango province and north-eastern Caprivi, which border Angola, Zambia and Botswana, are criss-crossed by numerous rivers that regularly flood during the summer rainy season.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba Tuesday said the floods could be “one of the worst such disasters in recent memory”. According to him, 91 people had died so far, several in attacks by crocodiles and hippos along swollen river banks.

According to Namibia’s Die Republikein newspaper Thursday over 2,000 people in the flooded areas had contracted malaria, of whom 25 had already died.

The paper said people in the Caprivi region were preparing for worse to come with the Zambezi river having risen in height to over 7.5 metres.

Pohamba said Tuesday that the state’s flood relief fund was running out of money and asked the international community for aid to prevent hunger.

The head of the regional emergency coordination committee, Erastus Negonga, told DPA that the government was supplying water, food, tents and other supplies to the flooded areas by helicopter and motorboat but that the shortage of helicopters and boats made the operation difficult.

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