According to the United Nations humanitarian arm, more than 54,000 people have been displaced by heavy floods to date in Namibia.
Nearly one-third of these people whose villages and homes were submerged by the waters are taking shelter in relocation camps, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
Additionally, serious damage to roads and bridges is impeding full access to almost 350,000 people affected by the widespread floods, or 17 per cent of the Southern African nation’s population.
Since the beginning of 2009, torrential rains in the north-central and north-eastern regions of Namibia have swollen rivers to levels not recorded since 1963 and claimed some 100 lives.
Shelter, water and sanitation, health care and food have been identified by a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) mission as the main humanitarian needs.
UN agencies have requested additional staff to respond to needs arising from the flood. The $2.7 million flash appeal issued last month – half of which has been funded so far – will be updated based on assessments.
The heavy flooding has also impacted Namibia’s neighbour to the north, Angola, where an estimated 220,000 people have been affected.
Authorities have predicted that the rains will continue through next month, and the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases is increasing.
The Angolan Ministry of Agriculture has provided 1,000 tonnes of millet to those impacted by the floods, but the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that a shipment of 84 tonnes of ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children has yet to be unloaded at a port.