SOUTHERN AFRICA: In Namibia, Episcopal Relief and Development responds to floods

April 11, 2008

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency assistance to communities in Namibia affected by devastating floods.

Namibia has been experiencing a drought for the past several years and the dry river beds in the north of the country cannot contain the runoff from the ongoing torrential rains in neighboring Angola. The rains have inundated Namibia and cut off entire villages from any means of escape except by helicopter. At least 42 people are confirmed dead and thousands have been displaced by the floods.

"The situation in Namibia is dire," an April 11 ERD release said. President Hifikepunye Pohamba has appealed for international aid, stating that the country cannot cope with the disaster on its own. Thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed, raising fears of a looming food shortage.

ERD's partner in Namibia, Anglican AIDS Programme, is responding to the most severely affected areas, providing supplies such as blankets, clothing, food, medicine and clean water. A cholera outbreak in the Ohangwena region threatens to spread to other areas, "so immediate assistance is extremely critical," the release said.

"Rains are continuing and flood levels have yet to recede," says Janette O'Neill, ERD's senior director of Africa Programs, who has just returned from the country. "The diocesan hospital, St. Mary's Odibo, is battling a cholera outbreak. Emergency support is being used to meet the needs of families displaced by this disaster."

To help people affected by flooding in Namibia, make a donation to ERD's "Emergency Relief Fund" online here, or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development "Emergency Relief Fund" P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.