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What geological hazards lurk in the Khomas region’s soil?

What geological hazards lurk in the Khomas region’s soil?

By David Adetona.


Based on an interview with Mako Sitali, Senior Geoscientist at the Geological Survey in the Ministry of Mines and Energy.


The Geological Survey in the Ministry of Mines and Energy has a leading position to ensure and encourage an environment that prevents, reduces or completely avoids geological hazards that have the potential to inflict loss of life and property.

The Survey fulfills its purpose through a systematic process of gathering, collating, assessing and disseminating all information related to disruptions of the earth’s surface that trigger landslides, sinkholes or earthquakes. This is to prevent, prepare, respond or recover from any geological hazard or disaster.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Plan states: “Without an effective means of communication it will be impossible to implement a well-coordinated emergency operation in Namibia.”

Overview

The Khomas region falls in one of the seismic zones which are prone to earthquake due to its geological setting such as the existence of faults within the regional tectonic structures.

The faults are thin cracks in rocks resulting in movement that causes earthquakes. For instance, the Pahl fault around Windhoek is a well-known geological structure that runs north-south from Okahandja to Rehoboth. Smaller faults or rock cracks associated with the Pahl fault are also found in most parts of Windhoek. Faults are relatively common and found in all parts of Namibia.

The bulk of the faults are inactive with only a few that are active, causing small earthquakes. It is therefore essential to emphasise that geological hazards are environmental conditions with short or long-term processes, starting with relatively small fractures but with the potential to cause more serious damage.

Latest development

The Geological Survey conducted a geotechnical study around Windhoek for future application in land-use planning, civil engineering and general city development.

The pilot project, entitled “Engineering Geological Survey of Windhoek for the Division of Engineering and Environmental Geology” concentrated on mapping and presentation of the most important geological hazards in the city’s territory. The project focused on fault zones and slope processes with related instabilities, as well as mud flows after heavy rainfall, inundation, near-surface ground water, erosion gullies and related issues, for a broad compilation of local geological hazard, vulnerability and risk. It produced a map as a basis for advice on urban land-use and risk-based development planning.

Another phase of the project is planned for this year to complement previous studies for the deployment of a seismic network in the Khomas Region. This will monitor seismicity to identify faults or cracks in the seismically active zones in Windhoek. It will comprise 10 networked seismic stations to monitor earthquakes.

On Importance

Geological hazard mapping and assessment is an important component of disaster risk management and mitigation to reduce the loss of lives or damage to properties caused by natural disasters.

Awareness of geological hazards reduces the damage caused by earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones through an ethic of prevention. Geological hazard mapping explains and identifies various areas that are susceptible or prone to various hazards. Awareness and information dissemination are essential to the public as this may reduce or prevent economic loss or loss of life, property, utilities or infrastructures.

On Purpose

Geological hazard studies reduce the immediate danger by knowing the steps or action to take in the event of a disaster. The level of uncertainty is reduced when individuals and communities are informed about the proper response to and recovery from and emergency situation. Geological hazard awareness is crucial to prevent or be prepared for any future disaster.

Prevent, Prepare, Respond or Mitigate

By combining awareness, education and preparedness, the disruptive impacts of a natural disaster is reduced. For instance, proper zoning and building codes are needed to prevent or reduce actual damage by avoiding certain areas or by enforcing minimum engineering and construction standards.

To be effective, mitigation requires a multidisciplinary approach for prevention, preparedness, response and mitigation. Effectiveness is increased when there is communication and coordination among residents, researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Challenges

Locally, the discipline of seismology suffers from a lack of skilled personnel, making it a challenge to anticipate hazardous events, to predict their occurrence, and to respond appropriately.

Furthermore, a dearth of historical data and the condition that all geological hazard responses must be supported by data, make it difficult to give any substantial advice or recommendations.

Additionally, a probabilistic approach to forecast future events, has its limitations as it also depends on historical and incidental data.

Recommendations

Some of the geological hazards can be minimized or prevented by appropriate engineering designs and proactive monitoring. However, the others are beyond human control and unpredictable. Many cities, towns or countries prone to earthquakes now use built-in protection based on building and earthquake codes, or anti-seismic technology designed to protect property and life in buildings.

Such a system can be adopted in the Khomas Region and the rest of the country, implying that any new building or renovation or adjustment of structures must be done according to strict guidelines that would protect or save people from future earthquake, landslides, sinkholes or the collapse of building.


For more pertinent information contact Ms Mako Sitali at Mako.Sitali@mme.gov.na or visit www.mme.gov.na.


 

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.