United Nations officials say flood waters in Namibia and Zambia are
receding and regional weather forecasters say they currently have no
projections for heavy rains in the catchments of the Zambezi and
Okavango. The focus is shifting toward assisting
some 350,000 people affected by crop losses weather the next twelve
The flood waters in northern Namibia and southwestern
Zambia began slowly to recede three days ago but it is likely to take
two or three weeks until communities once again become accessible.
Simon Nhongo, the United National Resident Coordinator based in
Windhoek, tells VOA until then, people cannot access basic services.
most of the social-economic infrastructure, hospitals, schools still
remain inaccessible, and the people who have been affected remain
roughly the same," said Nhongo.
The communities of the region
were preparing for the annual harvest of pearl millet and corn within
weeks. Nhongo says the outlook is bleak and that about 30 percent of
the affected communities were already experiencing food shortages. He
says the impact could be felt for as long as twelve months.
the medium to long term there will be a need for recovery, meaning
those who were expecting to harvest their crops for their food will
need to continue being fed by the humanitarian agencies," said Nhongo.
"And then also their fields will need to be rehabilitated if they have
been flooded, so it might affect their livelihoods even for the next
Communities in the central regions of northern Namibia
will have access, as they do each year, to fish that comes down from
Angola during the annual flood. This fish is dried and kept for use
throughout the year.
However, Nhongo says communities in the
Caprivi who rely on fishing in the Zambezi and Okavango throughout the
year, will be less fortunate.
"But when it is flooded like this
then fishing becomes almost not possible, so they are definitely going
to be affected in terms of not having their normal sources of
livelihood," he said.
Already the Namibian government is
preparing assessments of the needs of the communities. Nhongo says
this will be presented to donors.
"There are going to be
meetings with the donor partners, and maybe from that we are get an
idea of how much will be needed in the short term as well as in the
long term," he said.
Across the Zambezi in Zambia, national
disaster management officials say the flooding has reached its peak,
but they only expect to have full impact assessment reports in about a