By Aldrin Mukendwa
The Namibia Red Cross Society handed over 40 resilience houses on Friday, to flood victims living in the flood prone areas of Zambezi region.
Through its regional office in Katima Mulilo, NRCS is embarking on a pilot project called Building Resilient African Communities (BRACES) to assist the communities in disaster management with goals to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and socio-economic impacts caused by disasters in order to build safer and more resilient communities.
The beneficiaries of these houses have been selected from the four communities of Imukusi, Lisikili, Mbalasinte and Luhonono who all each received 10 resilience houses respectively.
This pilot project (BRACES) was implemented in Namibia for the first time with the financial assistance from American Red Cross in 2011. It was officially launched in Katima Mulilo in 2012.
During the handover ceremony at Lisikili some 36 Km away the town of Katima Mulilo, Namibia Red Cross Society’s Director of Programmes Mr. David Itana announced that since its implementation it has successfully built 40 resilient houses in four communities of Zambezi . The aim of the project also aims at strengthening community awareness on the challenge posed by floods and other disasters.
“We are appealing for local support to the project which can include donations of building materials by the local business community to the targeted communities.” Mr. Itana said.
Mr. Itana further urged for the joint efforts among the stakeholders such as the government and the community based organizations to continue with the community participation and the community ownership of the project.
Apart from the construction of 40 resilience houses , Namibia Red Cross Society managed to conduct other activities such as the development of contingency plans, baseline survey and information dissemination on disaster prevention and response to the establishment of community Based Early Warning Systems.
However, Zambezi Regional Governor, Lawrence Sampofu encouraged all communities living in the flood prone areas to emulate what the Red Cross has done and to start building their own resilient houses.
He added that, time has come for communities to take the lead in development of their own areas without depending from the Red Cross, government and international donors.
“We should all be weary and take cognizance of the fact that donor funding has declined, not only in Namibia but all over the world. This, calls for more community mobilization to ensure that our people take the lead in their destiny”. Explained Sampofu.
The BRACES project started in October 2011 as part of the Zambezi River Basin Initiative (ZRBI) operating across seven countries which mostly affected by the Zambezi River.