Namibia struck by floods, president declares state of emergency

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Image: Agência Brasil.

Hifikepunye Pohamba, the president of the southern African country of Namibia, declared a state of emergency in in the country on Tuesday after heavy flooding killed 92 and displaced 5,032 since January.

"It is with a heavy heart that I declare an emergency for the north-central and north-eastern parts of Namibia," the president said to reporters. "Crop fields are submerged in water and I send out an urgent appeal to the international community for assistance [...] as the current flood is worse than a year ago and could be one of the worst in recent memory."

100,000 children were unable to attend classes due to the disaster, which closed 218 schools.

Severe flooding occurred in Namibia about the same time last year, when 42 people were killed by the disaster.

This year's floods appear to be worse, as President Pohamba stated that the Zambezi River had reached 7.1 metres, compared to last year's peak of 5.37 metres.

Flooding has also reached neighbouring Angola, where nineteen people have died, according to the Red Cross.


Namibia on Wikipedia.