Ongwediva villagers fear Cholera outbreak

31 Mar 2015 13:30pm
ONGWEDIVA, 31 MAR (NAMPA) – Community members of Elyambala village near Ongwediva are worried about a possible cholera outbreak, after the council of the town started releasing drain water from its nearby sewage ponds into that village’s oshana.
The village is situated some 3 kilometres from the city-centre of Ongwediva Town.
Villagers claim that for the past 10 months, the Ongwediva Town Council has been releasing drain water from the 20 sewage ponds towards their village and neighbouring areas.
The ponds are currently full to capacity and villagers believe the council opted to release the said wastewater in the direction of the said village to avoid embarrassment if the ponds overflow towards the urban area of the town.
In an interview with Nampa, villagers argued that; “The council is doing this because it also does not want to spend money in expanding the ponds or to create new ones now that the town is experiencing population growth.”
Some of the villagers used to draw water for both human consumption and gardening from a nearby earth dam, which the flowing dirty water also affects.
Livestock herders are seen grazing their animals in and around the oshana in question, while children walk through the waters of that oshana to and from school on a daily basis.
The situation is viewed as seriously hazardous and would result in an outbreak of a waterborne disease such as cholera and skin infections.
Approached for comment, Spokesperson of the Ongwediva Town Council, Andreas Utoni said; “We are aware of the situation but we are hard at work and doing everything possible to ensure that the matter is resolved.”
In its efforts to address the situation, Utoni said the town council has already awarded a N.dollars 6 million-worth tender for additional sewage ponds to be created in the same area, adding that about three houses have been compensated to pave way for the construction of the envisaged sewage ponds.
He pointed out that the town council had already detected during the 2013/14 financial year that the sewage ponds had reached maximum capacity and started overflowing all over the embankment.
“We therefore, spent N.dollars 7 million to repair the embankment to reduce the overflows, leaving only one pond overflowing at this stage,” Utoni charged, adding that experts were approached and told the council that the overflowing water is not harmful.
According to Utoni, only the oshana’s water and only one house, which is located in the flood-prone area, is affected by the pond’s overflow.
“The council advised the owner of the affected house to relocate to higher land elsewhere in town since 2006 but she refused to be compensated in order to vacate the area,” said Utoni.
Utoni appealed to villagers to exercise some patience and allow the council more time to mobilise resources and rectify the situation.