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Lake Liambezi filling up, Zambezi floods subside
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - Web posted at 10:28:14 GMT

Lake Liambezi filling up, Zambezi floods subside

FLOODING in the Lake Liambezi area in southern Caprivi is damaging vast areas of crop plantations.

With the lake now about half full, people have begun harvesting their maize crops in the worst affected Muyako, Kwena and Lusu areas.

According to a senior water technician at Katima Mulilo, Vincent Simana, the Chobe River is coming down strongly, forcing people into action or else risking the loss of their whole harvest.

The waters have even begun damaging crops at Masokwatwane along the road to Linyanti.

The regional co-ordinator of the Flood Task Team, Robert Mapenzi, said Government had already procured dug-out canoes and about 10 paddleboats from Zambia to help people transport their crops across the lake.

Villages that are located on higher ground, have, however, not been threatened by the increasing volumes of water gushing into the lake region.

People in the area have been provided with mosquito nets, since malaria has become a greater threat as a result of the stagnant water.

Mapenzi has described the flood situation as "under control" as the Zambezi River gradually subsides.

On Monday, the river - as measured at Katima Mulilo - stood at exactly 5,00 metres, 44 centimetres less than the previous week.

At around the same time a year ago the river was almost 50 cm higher than recorded at the beginning of this week.

Simana said that even though the waters were receding in the floodplains, it would still be at least another two months before the situation in the eastern floodplains normalises.

Homes in the higher areas of Malindi, Schuckmannsburg, Kasika, Mbalasinte and Itomba were reportedly now drying up.

Simana said, as the river level dropped, the waters were likely to move to drier areas, forming stagnant pools.

But Mapenzi, who is also the region's acting Chief Regional Officer, told The Namibian that he was more than happy with the way the situation was being handled.

He said the Regional Emergency Management Unit was doing a commendable job of ensuring a constant flow of food aid to Schuckmannsburg, Impalila Island and Lusese.

The camps at Impalila Island and Schuckmannsburg are receiving the bulk of their aid via Botswana and Zambia respectively.

Food was also being airlifted regularly to the villages of Muzii, Bukano, Mbalasinte, Nankuntwe and Kasika where a few people had stayed behind to guard their property and look after livestock.

Mapenzi said, however, that more tents were needed to accommodate the about 3 000 people at the reception centres.


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