Water Crisis Leaves Pupils, Teachers Dry

DUE to a severe water crisis, a school in the Oshikoto region has not been able to run its feeding scheme for at least five months.

Onkumbula Combined School had to suspend its feeding scheme, affecting 543 children, 22 teachers and other personnel at the school.

According to the principal of the school, Martha Ndavelofi, they cannot cook or wash themselves or their clothes, because there is no water left at the school after their water tanks dried up recently. “I really don’t know. We are in a serious water crisis, and I think the government has to intervene as soon as possible, otherwise things will become worse and eventually out of hand,” a worried Ndavelofi told The Namibian.

The water crisis, however, does not only affect the school.

The residents and animals in the Okankolo and Eengodi constituencies of the Oshikoto region are all in dire need of water.

The situation was caused by the rural water supply division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s failure to complete boreholes and put up high water reservoir tanks to create enough pressure to pump the water into pipelines to provide communities and schools in the two constituencies.

Senior administrative officer of the Eengodi constituency Eino Mbango said on Friday that they are losing sleep because the residents are calling on them day and night for water.

Mbango said the situation had reached a level where many people in the villages sleep on empty stomachs, while children attend school without eating or washing themselves.

The situation has been worsened by the fact that the area did not have good rains this season, resulting in dry pans.

Mbango said more than seven boreholes were drilled in the Eengodi constituency by order of the water ministry, but many of these boreholes were left incomplete, while those completed have salty water that can only be used by animals and is not fit for human consumption.

He explained that the rural water supply division needs assistance from other ministries to get more trucks to provide enough water to the needy communities. Okankolo constituency senior administrative officer Martha Kalenga agreed with Mbango, saying they have a similar problem.

Kalenga said teachers are transporting water from places such as Ondangwa, Omuthiya or even from Oshakati to Onkumbula school, some 100 kilometres away.

When The Namibian passed the Onamakulikwa waterpoint on Friday, the village water committee chairperson Abraham Nekongo was found distributing water to some members of the community.

“It is time for the government and other water providers to pull up their socks. Otherwise we will die of thirst. The government must hear our cries and come to our rescue,” Nekongo said.

He revealed that the tank had received water three days ago but would run dry by Friday afternoon, leaving the residents without water for the weekend.

Source : The Namibian