Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei residents stranded without water and electricity

BORDER POST … The Noordoewer border post that separates Namibia from South Africa. Photo: //Kharas Regional Council
… border posts operating manually

Residents of Noordoewer say they are in dire need of water which has run out following a power outage that began on Sunday.

A resident of the settlement Willem Olifant, told The Namibian yesterday Noordoewer’s water pump uses electricity and since the power outage, tanks have not been refilled to supply water to residents.

“We do not know what to do anymore. We cannot cook. We cannot wash ourselves. How do we go to work without bathing and what do our children drink?

Another resident, Reginald Kahua, said those coming from Keetmanshoop and other areas should bring water for residents when they pass through the settlement.

Kahua said besides the water and electricity outage, there is also no cellphone coverage and ATMs are not working.

“The power outage has led to a complete blackout. At this point, I want to relocate to Keetmanshoop, even if it’s just for the week. I cannot even buy airtime for my phone to communicate, even though I have money in the bank, because there is no network to do online banking or mobile banking. I can’t withdraw the money as ATMs are off,” said Kahua.

Acting police regional commander deputy commissioner Nicodemus Mbango said since Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei have no power, the police are challenged in terms of communicating with places, including Aussenkehr.

Mbango added that they were informed that the police water tanks, which are always full, have been depleted by community members who flocked to the police station to get water.

“However, we have sent a team to Noord­oewer to assess the situation and bring a situational report back. We can’t reach the station because our communication is cut. There is no network at Noordoewer. We do have electricity, because we have back-up generators.

“We have inmates, and feeding, washing and cleaning are a challenge. The power outage is also affecting the Aussenkehr Police Station and Ariamsvlei, even though we do not have inmates there,” said Mbango.

So far, Mbanga said no cases of illegal border crossing have been reported.

Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei are border posts between Namibia and South Africa.

Staff members at the Ariamsvlei border post, who spoke to The Namibian on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said immigration and customs and excise officials are checking travellers in manually, including all related paperwork.

Both have electricity for lights only, but no computers or scanners.

“There is nothing we can do. We were informed it’s a fault on NamPower’s end and that it will probably be restored by Wednesday (today). So all we can do is check people in manually. Customs staff have to count goods manually and do the paperwork. There has been no work stoppage and we can’t keep people at the border, neither trucks transporting goods, said the staff member.

Calls and texts to Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security public relations officer Margaret Kalo and executive director Etienne Maritz went unanswered.

The Namibia Revenue Agency said they will issue a statement today.

NamPower officials said the power supply is expected to be restored today.

“NamPower technical personnel are currently engaged in transporting a replacement transformer from Windhoek. The public is cautioned to treat all power lines and electrical points as ‘live’ during power outages as no prior notification is given when the power supply is restored,” noted a recent media statement.

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