Phase One Kicks Off to Eliminate Floods From Oshakati for Good

The much anticipated N$1.8 billion Flood Mitigation Project for the town of Oshakati took a step closer to realisation yesterday with the ground-breaking ceremony of the Okatana Bridge and traffic circle, which in itself constitutes infrastructural investment of N$93 million.

TecnoNam, a Namibian registered contracting company was appointed to build the bridge and traffic circle as phase one of the Flood Mitigation Project, while Buro of Architects (BAR) Namibia, in collaboration with Consultancy Services Africa (CSA), have been contracted to provide technical support and consultancy services.

The Flood Mitigation Project aims to eliminate the seasonal floods experienced in Oshakati, which has for centuries been caused by floodwaters originating from the highlands in southern Angola, and consists of a 23 kilometer dyke around the northern town, five bridges and internal water channels to divert floodwater around the town and through strategic conduits to avoid the seasonal flooding that has resulted in government spending millions of dollars in emergency and relocation costs.

The project also involves the deepening and lining of the Okatana River, which started earlier this year with the construction of two bridges to the tune of N$16 million. The one bridge connects Ekuku to the Ehenye Township and the other connects Onendongo to Oshakati through extension 16.

Retired Major General, Charles Namoloh, Minister of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD), whose speech was delivered by Governor of the Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa, said: “We, the government have been worried to see Oshakati town under such huge amounts of water. People’s properties have been damaged due to flooding. Government approved the Concept Master Plan of Oshakati as a solution to floods, which has been reoccurring for four consecutive years. Today this project is a start of mitigating floods to the residents of Oshakati.”

Minister Namoloh added that plans are underway to relocate people living in flood prone areas as approved by the Oshakati Town Council (OTC). He remarked that 65 houses are ready for occupation at Ekuku that have been constructed under the Mass Housing Scheme while 135 houses are almost completed.

Meanwhile, also officiating at the occasion, Martha Amupolo, the local representative of the Buro of Architects (BAR) Namibia, the designers of the Flood Mitigation Project, commented that a permanent solution for the Oshakati floods had been one of the main concerns particularly for government. “A strategic dyke to protect the town had been designed by BAR Namibia, with the assistance of the MRLGHRD and OTC. This project is part of the Concept Master Plan, which had been approved by the Namibian Cabinet,” noted Amupolo.

Also speaking at the event, which attracted a huge number of visitors from the area, the Councillor of the Okatana Constituency, Rosalia Shilenga (MP), said the ground breaking was an historic moment that will eliminate floods from Oshakati once and for all and requested affected residents to co-operate with the contractors on the project. Speaking in his own capacity, Governor Kashuupulwa appealed to contractors involved on the project to remain in touch with local village headmen as “they are the leaders on the ground and can assist in ensuring that adequate progress on made on the project.”

Source : New Era