Jan 08, 2014
ODIBO villagers in Ohangwena are living in fear after long cracks with holes have appeared in a stretch of land near mahangu fields and homesteads.
Minister of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh, who is also the Odibo village headman, confirmed what he described as a strange phenomenon to The Namibian on Monday.
Namoloh said he contacted the Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, to investigate the cause.
According to Minister Namoloh, villagers came to him while on leave and told him about the cracks.
He said some were saying it might be an earthquake, while others believed something terrible was happening at their village. Another theory is that it is an old river that wants to surface after so much rain fell in the area during floods of the past four years.
A 72-year-old villager, Ndilokelwa Mweshihwa, and Sonia Nafuka, who have resided in the area for many years, said old people had told them that there had been a river exactly where the land is cracking now.
“I think we need scientists to come and determine the cause of the cracking, since this is a very strange phenomenon happening in the area,” Minister Namoloh said.
He added that the cracks in the ground might become dangerous for the villagers, especially children using bush paths to get to school and vehicle owners who might drive on the cracking soil.
A villager told the minister that people who had built bricks houses had noticed they were cracking, and this may have been caused by the land cracking.
Minister Namoloh told the villagers that even his brick house at his traditional homestead had started cracking and had been renovated several times. He had not thought about the cause, but they may now have found it.
Namoloh said that scientists have found a large amount of underground water in the northern part of Ohangwena Region area that stretches from Oshikango, Onamhinda, Odibo, Onengali, Edudja to Eenhana and to the east of Ohangwena Region. This may influence or cause the soil to crack in the Odibo area. “No matter, we will call in scientists to investigate and to determine the cause of of this soil cracking,” he said.
As headman, Minister Namoloh said he would invite the traditional village council for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss this problem and what measures need to be taken, especially to keep children safe and also to warn motorists.