Low earners excluded from drought relief

24 May 2019 | Disasters

Households with a combined income of more than N$2 600 will not qualify for state drought assistance, which has effectively excluded even low-level civil servants and others from the process.

Omusati regional council chairperson Modestus Amutse said the region is still in the process of identifying and registering beneficiaries.

Amutse said households with a combined income of more than N$2 600 do not qualify for registration.

“We held workshops with the village headmen and drought committee on who is qualified to be registered.

“We are not saying those that are working will not be registered, but we are saying if a household has a combined income of more than N$2 600, then such a household is able to buy a bag of maize meal, because their situation is not like those that not having an income at all,” said Amutse.

“We need to give a chance to those that are in need, otherwise the food will not be enough and distribution will also be difficult. We are aware that there are some government officials demanding to be registered, claiming that they are also affected by the drought.”

Oshana regional council chairperson Hanu Kapenda said those having a “high income”, must submit their applications in writing to their constituency offices.





“There are people with a high income, but due to some circumstance, they cannot afford to feed their households, or there are some people who do not support their households. These people need to submit their applications to their councillors in writing,” Kapenda said.



The initial due date for the identification and registrations of drought relief beneficiaries was 16 May, but only Oshikoto has finalised its process and submitted their list to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), while Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati have had to postpone their processes in order to address challenges.



On the 10 May the OPM ordered regional council offices to facilitate the identification and registration of beneficiaries and they were given until 16 May to submit the names. Identification is being done by village headmen and drought committees established at villages.



Ohangwena regional council chairperson Erickson Ndawanifa said when they were notified by the OPM, they were not ready to produce accurate information in one week.



He therefore called a meeting with the regional disaster risk management committee to discuss how where they going to facilitate the identification and registration.



“The request from the OPM was urgent and it was requesting that the identification must be done by village heads and the due date was 16 May. This is therefore a process that requires people to sit down and caucus. The communication got to us on a Friday and it got out to the people up to last Wednesday, depending on how far the constituencies are,” said Ndawanifa.



“I realised that if we rush, as per the request, we will not be able to produce accurate data. Therefore, I first called the regional disaster risk management committee to look into the issues of how severe the region is affected by the drought and how prepared we have to be in terms of the affected people, livestock and water situation. We have to make sure that the identified people are those that are really in need and we shifted our due date to 24 May.”



The eastern parts of the region have received a little rainfall. People grew their mahangu, but it failed to mature so it could be harvested, while in the west, people did not receive rainfall at all.



Ndawanifa said not all households will benefit. He said some have only jobless people, while some are wealthy and others average.



“We already have a situation where people approaching village headmen are complaining that everybody has to be registered to benefit from the drought relief, because the drought situation has affected everybody and that is why the president has declared it as a national emergency situation,” said Ndawanifa.



Cabinet has announced that N$572.7 million is needed for a comprehensive drought relief intervention to assist drought-affected communities in communal areas.