Windhoek Mayor warns of floods as heavy rains persist
By Clifton Movirongo.
The Office of the Mayor has issued flood warnings to the residents of Windhoek as the city is currently experiencing heavy rains and overflowing rivers, which is a cause for concern to many.
The announcement was made by the Mayor of Windhoek, Dr. Job Amupanda, who said although there is no loss of life that has been recorded since the onset of the rainy season on 30 December 2020, people should stay alert about the dangers of flash floods.
He added that the city’s emergency response teams attended to 14 flood-related incidents from 30 December 2020 to 5 January 2021.
“Our current assessment of the situation reveals that flood incidents are caused by blocked storm water pipes, leaking roofs and or 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.
The mayor further explained that residents who are particularly at risk are those residing in low-lying areas, near rivers or downstream of dams.
“The City’s Disaster Risk Management Committee and flood preparedness standby team are activated during this period and will meet on a weekly basis to assess, plan and deploy the necessary responses. Most of the flooding incidents relate to roads or stormwater issues and building compliance violations,” he said.
Amupanda said where necessary, the city will also initiate regular patrols in hotspots to inspect stormwater channels, for the remainder of the rainy season.
“I call on all of us to remain calm, vigilant and to exercise due caution. The weather projections indicate that more flash floods are expected for the remainder of the week. Regular updates will be communicated as new information is received. Please be assured that the current situation is under control and subject to regular monitoring,” said the Mayor.
Office of the Mayor advised that people who live in frequently-flooded areas should consider the following precautionary measures: “Stockpile sandbags, have shovels and other material readily available to counter sudden floods or strong winds, seal the roof of your dwelling, make sure all drainage systems in your area are clean of debris and garden refuse, move to a safe distance from low-lying areas, to elevated areas before water levels rise, teach your children not to swim in riverbeds, streams and ponds in open areas, have emergency numbers at hand among others.”
For those who are travelling in vehicles during a storm: “If you approach a flooded area, turn around and take an alternative safe route, if your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately, always obey road traffic signs, roadblocks and instructions from law enforcement officers, be careful when driving on wet gravel or sandy roads and so on.”
“Please take the precautionary measures indicated earlier as a first step, and allow the City officials sufficient time to assess and prioritize the level of urgency so that the appropriate response mechanisms are deployed, where they are most needed,” he concluded.