Alert issued for possible flash flood in northern- central areas – Meteorological Service
By Clifton Movirongo.
The Namibia Meteorological Service issued a warning that heavy rains are most likely to occur in the northern-central parts of the country , while urging communities to be on high alert for possible flash flooding in the Oshana region as from Thursday and over the weekend.
Weather forecaster, Odilo Kgobetsi, said people should prepare for heavy rain that is expected with flash flooding possible over most parts of the region on Friday.
Although low rainfall amounts have been received in the northern- central parts since the beginning of the current rain season, the Oshana Region is one of the worst flood prone areas of the country.
Vegetable farmers in the region meanwhile said despite the insufficient rain, they are partly relieved that there is still some moisture content in the soil, hence, they do not use a lot of water to irrigate as compared to previous dry seasons.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer in Oshana, Leevi Nekwaya, a high demand for ministerial subsidized services such as ploughing, seeds and fertiliser being offered under the Dry Land Crop Production Programme has surfaced.
“The ministry is struggling to meet the farmers’ demands. Tractors are not sufficient to render ploughing, ripping, planting and fertiliser application services. Inputs such as fertilizers and seeds produced are also not sufficient to cover all farming households,” he said.
Quizzed on the preparation of communal farmers and some of the negative impacts of wet weathers, Nekwaya said commented that wet weather harbours diseases and pests on both crops and livestock but despite the impacts, he said that “currently, crop farmers are hard at work with land preparation.”
“Late rain may affect the genuine characteristics of the grains or seeds. For instance, if mahangu crops received rain at maturity, the grain colour may change and grain quality may be affected. Some grains may develop fungus due to moisture. Most rain-fed crop farmers in Oshana Region are predominantly planting Mahangu as a staple food; hence, white maize is only planted in a small portion of the field or by horticulture farmers,” he told the Economist.
Over and above that, Nekwaya added that some earth dams and ponds have water for livestock and gardening, plus farmers still need rain for seed to germinate, crops sustenance and grass to grow for both livestock and crops.
Meanwhile, Leonard Hango, the Oshakati Mayor and Senior hydrologist, revealed that no major floods have been reported in the region as of late adding that no threats have been identified.
The response from Hango follows recent media reports, that the Oshakati council was inundated with complaints from residents of stormwater flooding their homes but the mayor maintained that with the construction of the embankment and the water drainage, there shall be no further flood-related complaints.
“The rain is not here yet and it will only cause panic if we alert people about possible flash floods or tell them to move. So, it is best we wait for the showers because right now it is dry in the north,” said the Oshakati mayor.