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20 Mar 2009 15:18
More than 200 000 people in Namibia have been affected by heavy flooding near the northern border with Angola since January, the United Nations said on Friday.
Fields of crops have been soaked and the loss of agricultural produce could have an impact on the region’s food security, said Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“The torrential rain has calmed, but we believe that they will continue as we are still in the rainy season with the rain to last another four weeks,” she said, noting that there are fears that flooding could trigger a further spread of cholera.
“A lot of crops has been damaged ... We will have to see if the loss of these crops would have dramatic consequences for food security,” she added.
Namibia’s president declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in the north after heavy flooding that has killed 92 since January and displaced thousands.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba told reporters at a special briefing that 92 people have drowned since January and 218 schools closed, leaving 100 000 children unable to attend classes.
The flooding has also impacted neighbouring Angola, Byrs said, quoting government figures that more than 22 000 people have been relocated and 90 000ha of land destroyed.
The Red Cross said on Tuesday that at least 19 people have died from the flooding in Angola, with 10 deaths reported in the southern province of Cunene, where more than 75 000 people have been affected by the floods.—Sapa-AFP
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