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“While we are thankful for the abundant rain, there is a concern that flash floods may cause damage to private and public property, for example electricity poles and roads, which could present further risks of power outages and unsafe roads and driving conditions,” Windhoek major Job Amupanda said in a statement.
The municipality’s current assessment of the situation reveals that flood incidents are being caused by blocked storm-water pipes, leaking roofs and the lack of adequate storm-water drainage.
“The incidents in informal settlements are worsened by dwellings built in riverbeds or low-lying areas near rivers or water channels,” Amupanda said.
Windhoek has received rain every day since the beginning of the year.
According to Amupanda, the city’s emergency response teams have attended to 14 flood-related incidents from 30 December 2020 to 5 January 2021.
He said a multidisciplinary team comprising officials of the Windhoek City Police, the human settlement, roads and storm-water department, and the emergency and disaster risk-management department in the Office of the Prime Minister are regularly engaging relevant stakeholders to mitigate the immediate risks and relocate communities from flood-risk areas to higher grounds.
Thus far, over 71 households at Havana and eight at Otjomuise have been affected, but no loss of life has been recorded since the onset of the rainy season on 30 December.
A number of areas in Khomasdal, Katutura, Olympia, Klein Windhoek, Hochland Park, Avis and the city centre have been marked as hotspots due to the rivers that run through them.
Furthermore, the city has cautioned residents living in low-lying areas to take extra precautions during rainstorms as flash floods may affect them.
Amupanda said the city’s disaster risk-management committee and flood-preparedness standby team will meet weekly to assess, plan and deploy the necessary response.
The city has already begun its relocation initiative and is registering residents who live in riverbeds and need to be moved, City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye yesterday said.
“The relocation has started, and yesterday [Saturday] we visited Groot Aub to assess the situation there as well. There are a few dwellings that will need to be relocated. So, this will be an ongoing process,” he said.
The Namibia Meteorological Service has predicted rain of more than 60 millimetres in various parts of the city for yesterday and today.
Ongoing rains are experienced across the country, with southern towns suffering major damage to road infrastructure last week. The northern regions are also encountering heavy rains.
Namibia’s rainy season usually lasts from November to April.