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A Helping Hand In Namibia

As the flood waters subside, the need for assistance in northern Namibia hasn’t.  NCM Africa, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (Africa) and humedica international have arrived in May to assess how they could assist people in putting their lives back together.  This joint collaboration is financed by the German Government.  

Whether living in one of the 78 informal and formal relocation centres, in need of medical assistance, rebuilding their damaged homes or working out how they will regain their livelihood, a helping hand is just around the corner for the flood affected people of Namibia.

“The mission in the flood affected regions is currently recovery, this process will over time transform into rehabilitation,” said Andrew Johnson from NCM Africa.  He went onto say “the immediate concerns were over potable water, sanitation in the relocation centres and loss of livelihoods.”  Other current priorities include providing access to food items, mosquito nets and blankets, as the winter sets in.  

Caprivi region has the largest concentration of displaced persons with over 15,598 people now living in relocation centres.  These centres are mostly in schools, where full families can be found residing.  Many of the areas and villages in the Caprivi region are still flooded.  All people can do is sit back and watch as their lives remain buried underwater.  Beds, cupboards, lounge chairs all wait, submerged, for the time when people can inspect the damage the floods have caused to their lives.  The World Bank has estimated the damage bill due to the floods at $620 million.  To date only N$7 million has been received in donations.

Through this joint intervention, up to 6,000 Namibians are to receive medical assistance.  A four person medical team, consisting of two doctors and two nurses, arrived on the 16th May armed with over 200 kg of medicines.  They are currently assisting outreach efforts into the affected areas through the Oshakati State Hospital.  

The health status in the relocation centres remains good, as diarrhea and malaria cases are the main health complications noted.  Over 17,000 cases of diarrhea have been reported between January and April this year.  Therefore, the prevention of disease outbreaks has been prioritized.  This includes a strong focus on hygiene promotion within the centres in a bid to prevent a cholera outbreak.  The Chairperson of the Disaster Risk Management Committee, Frans Kapofi, said the “centres are not struggling with food issues, but with hygiene problems.”

Other interventions that will be brought about through this collaboration include addressing health concerns and current shortages in cooking oil, tinned fish and mosquito nets.  Health prevention initiatives that will provide the ability to purify water for drinking have been prioritized.

By Michelle Fadelli

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