Elephants caused havoc in the area of Elavi last week, where they raided mahangu fields and destroyed properties.
Early this month a herd of 18 elephants arrived at Elavi from Ohangwena Region in search of water and have been terrorising Kavango West Region.
Ohangwena and Kavango West regions border with Elavi village, which is 100 kilometres north of Tsumeb in Nehale LyaMpingana Constituency, Oshikoto Region. The area has an abundance of water.
The elephants have also caused havoc at Ongali, Onalusheshe and Emenya.
Residents in the area said they are living in fear as the large beasts pass through villages when crossing from one field to the other. At one time villagers had to seek refugee at other nearby villages.
“We reported this matter to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism on the 4th of this month, when we spotted them, but nothing has been done. About four days ago there were wardens from nature conservation from Etosha who advised us not to harm the animals or try to chase them away, instead we should report incidents to them. But despite our reporting the issue three days ago, they never pitched up. Now look, the elephants have destroyed our crops. We listened to them (officials) but where are they now?” questioned the headman of Elavi, Daniel Ngwedha.
He said that this year the village is looking to have a good harvest but the elephants are destroying the crops.
“The ministry should consider this because we have already lost – they would know how we can be compensated. Drought relief food is not sufficient, this was supposed to supplement that,” said a distressed Ngwedha.
One of the recent victims Gabriel Namweya, whose field was also raided by elephants, said the damage is estimated at N$4 000.
“My fence was destroyed and my mahangu – if nature conservationists had acted promptly when the matter was reported, all this would not have happened. What are they waiting for? To hear that someone has been killed or what?” fumed Namweya.
Meanwhile, the public relations officer of the environment ministry, Romeo Muyunda, said that recently there have been other pressing matters which might have held up their officials from reacting timeously.
“With regard to compensation, our team will have to assess the damage and devise means of chasing the animals from the areas, as well as implement ways that will prevent human-wildlife conflict and further damage,” explained Muyunda.
He stressed that the ministry’s policy does not provide for compensation.
“Our human-wildlife conflict policy does not provide for compensation, but it has a scheme whereby victims can be given something to cover the damage, but this does not fully cover what they have lost,” added Muyunda.