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Over a thousand people affected by flooding in Namibia

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Rising water levels and flooding in the northern parts of Namibia have affected about 1,500 people, Prime Minister (PM) Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said on Thursday.

Speaking in parliament, the PM said that the water levels in Oshana are increasing from the Cuvelai source and communities in the surrounding areas have been warned to move and relocate to higher ground.

“It is important for communities to cooperate and adhere to warnings while government is working with all stakeholders in finding lasting solution and put flood mitigating measures in place,” she said.

About eight villages in the Ongwediva constituency are reported to be surrounded by water while health facilities have also been affected.

“All regional structures have been activated to respond to the flood situation and the government has and will continue to provide assistance in the form of tents, food, ablution facilities, water tanker services and more,” she said.

The regions affected include Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Zambezi regions with about 810 people having been relocated to high ground and are currently receiving assistance from the government.

In areas where health facilities and roads have been damaged, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says that helicopters are going around providing health services.

Meanwhile, 27,000 pupils from 102 schools in the same regions have also been affected by the floods and schools had to close down.

The floods have been termed the worst in the region in living memory. The rains that cause these floods fall in Angola, then flow into Namibia’s Cuvelai basin and end up filling the flood plains there.



Flood affects more than 27,000 students in Namibia

WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) -- A total number of 27,000 students and 102 schools in Namibia’s north and north-east regions are affected by floods, said Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on Tuesday in the National Assembly.

According to Hanse-Himarwa, Omusati region has the highest number of schools (73) affected by the floods followed by 11 schools in Ohangwena region and about 10 schools in Oshana region.

The prevailing floods have also negatively impacted on the education sector with buildings especially ablution facilities were submerged as most have been damaged and will require renovations.

“Funds are limited and the Ministry is challenged to be able to meet the needs as requested by the regions. In most extreme cases the Ministry is left with no other option but to close the schools while continuing to provide basic needs to the learners such as tents and other facilities,” said Hanse-Himarwa.

Meanwhile, although no schools have been closed yet in the Zambezi region, the region is considered the most affected region. The current level of the Zambezi River has reached 6.5 meters, which is considered a disaster to the education sector.

In the meantime, to address and mitigate the impact on education provision, the Ministry has developed regional contingency plans mostly in the flood prone areas and this has helped the ministry to some extent and use the contingency plans to lobby for funds within the Ministry’s budget and buy tents which are used during the times of flooding.

However, in the case of Zambezi region, where flood has just started making impact, according to Hanse-Himarwa, the Ministry will close the schools affected and carry out an assessment after three weeks in order to allow these schools to use the existing schools in the upper land to continue with classes during school holiday.

Hanse-Himarwa said that the ministry will conduct a full assessment of the impact of floods and will mobilize resources from stakeholders and strategic partners.


Namibian Dollar to weaken against USD: expert 

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Chief Investment Officer of Equity and Asset Allocation at Capricorn Asset Management (CAM), Floris Bergh told Xinhua on Thursday that he foresees the Namibian Dollar to weaken against the U.S. Dollar after South African president Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet recently.

“The South African Rand (which is linked to Namibian Dollar) depreciated will by 10.2 percent from 12.32 per USD to 13.58.” said Bergh.

He added that he expects more downgrades from other rating agencies: “Other rating agencies will follow suit in due course and cut their ratings.  However, S&P was the heavy weight.  How things will play out from here is very difficult to say.” he said.

The credit downgrade of RSA debt was the culmination of events that played out over the last week of March and into early April.  Financial markets started to price in a “bad news” scenario when Gordhan and his deputy were recalled from an overseas trip. They were presenting to overseas investors regarding the RSA economy and policies. In the end Zuma reshuffled his cabinet, which, amongst others, meant the axing of Gordhan and his deputy and the appointment of a new minister of finance, and a new deputy minister.

This prompted Standard and Poor’s (Credit rating agency) to cut their investment grade rating of SA foreign debt to non-investment grade and that of domestic debt to BBB-, one notch above non-investment grade. The key reason they provided was that the reshuffle constituted a significant policy change amidst increased political uncertainty.

Since Namibia’s economy is closely tied to South Africa, any political unrest in neighboring South Africa is felt in Namibia and reverberates across various Namibian indicators like inflation of housing, food and fuel prices as well as low commodity prices for exporting, according Bergh.

Capricorn Asset Management is a subsidiary of Bank Windhoek and is one of Namibia’s leading asset management companies.


Chinese arts group performs in Namibia

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Jiangsu Performing Arts Group, a Chinese performance arts group gave an electrifying performance in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Friday evening.

Performance acts included traditional Chinese opera such as Peking opera and Kunqu opera, Pipa (a Chinese musical instrument), acrobatics, and dance, amongst others.

Show organizer Li Hong said that the performance themed “Perception of Jiangsu and Jiangnan Style” is part of Jiangsu Performing Arts Group’s tour to Africa, and honours China’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations with Africa through cultural exchanges.

The group also performed at Cape Town’s amphitheatre before their performance in Namibia.

Established in September 2001, the Jiangsu Performing Arts Group comprises 11 troupes which involve 12 artistic sorts.

“The arts group’s operating range involves artistic production, research and guidance, performance marketing, exploration,” said Li.

Meanwhile, Li Nan, Charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Namibia said that performance by the Jiangsu Performing Arts Group is one of the most important cultural exchange programmes between China and Namibia.

“Cultural exchange forms an important part of bilateral relations, which is important in terms of promoting relations in all areas. China and Namibia can learn from each other to bridge the gap of cultural differences, and enhance integration,” said Li.

Governor of the Khomas Region, Laura Mcleod-Katjirua added that the performance is a further manifestation of the agreement between the Khomas Regional Council and Jiangsu Province, adding the performance paves way for further cultural exchanges between Namibia and China.

The Khomas Regional Council and the Jiangsu Province signed a long-term friendly cooperation agreement in 2015 to promote cultural exchange as well as cooperation in the areas of education, social development, economy and trade.


China hands over 4,000 tonnes of rice to Namibia

WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday officially handed over 4,000 metric tonnes of rice to Namibia in Windhoek as part of assistance towards drought relief.

The handover was officiated by visiting Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming and Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the drought in Namibia left more than 595,000 people directly or indirectly affected and President Hage Geingob had declared the drought a national emergency.

“This donation we are witnessing is in fact a symbolic one as the large quantity of food is already delivered to the regions and the intended beneficiaries, which is the purpose of the donation,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Namibia’s resilience could be strengthened through international cooperation, such as with agricultural projects, and Namibia could learn from Chinese expertise in order to become self-sustainable in food security.


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