Flash Appeal for Namibia 2009
Since the beginning of 2009 the north-central and north-eastern regions of Namibia have experienced torrential rains, increasing the water levels of the Cunene, Chobe, Zambezi and Kavango rivers, which are also fed by rains and tributaries originating in Angola and Zambia. More than a meter of rainfall has been recorded over a widespread area (see map on preceding page). In the Cuvelai basin, although the levels of the Cunene River and tributaries have started to subside, extensive damage is reported. In the regions of Kavango and Caprivi, the Chobe, Zambezi and Kavango rivers have reached water levels not recorded since 1963, and these continue to rise due to excessive rains upstream in Angola and Zambia.
Government and humanitarian partners conducted assessments in the affected regions, which are home to the majority of the rural poor in the country. The assessments identified immediate and medium-term humanitarian needs. It is estimated that 92 people have lost their lives in the floods and up to 350,000 people (16.6% of Namibia’s population) are affected. The cumulative effect of flooding in both 2008 and 2009, in combination with the low levels of resilience, appears to have increased the levels of vulnerability, especially for thelarge proportion of the population affected by HIV/AIDS (Namibia has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, estimated in 2008 at 15.8% of the adult population).
Of the total affected, an estimated 13,000 persons are displaced, including around 9,200 displaced in relocation camps, where the numbers of people registering continue to grow. Many health facilities and schools are either flooded or inaccessible. While no dramatic increases of acute watery diarrhoea or cases of cholera have been reported, there is a threat due to overflowing of sewerage ponds. Health authorities are reportedly concerned there may be an increase in malaria cases due to stagnant water. More than 50% of roads in the affected area have been damaged and a livelihood assessment indicates that the harvest is expected to fall by 63% due to the flooding. As a result, about 67% of the poor households will face an estimated food gap of 20-30%.
The President of the Republic of Namibia declared an emergency for the north-central and north-eastern part of Namibia on 17 March 2009 and appealed for international assistance. UN agencies have re-programmed some funds to respond to the current flood emergency response, but additional resources are required to meet the needs
This appeal is based on the current outstanding needs and response gaps jointly identified by Government, UN and humanitarian partners, which were communicated to the humanitarian and donor community by the Office of the President’s National Planning Commission Secretariat on 20 March 2009.
Further assessments are ongoing, on the basis of which this initial appeal will be revised. To support and complement the Government in its response, the international humanitarian community is seeking US$ 2,724,380to address the immediate and medium-term humanitarian needs of up to 350,000 affected people. The country team has applied to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for a part of this.