US chips in with drought aid

28 May 2019 | Disasters

Some of Namibia's most hard-hit communities struggling to survive amidst the ongoing drought are set to benefit from N$1.4 million in relief aid donated by the United States government.

Yesterday US ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, announced a US$100 000 contribution towards Namibia's emergency drought actions to be funnelled to communities most in need.

The aid, provided via the USAID's Office for Disaster Assistance, follows a plea for support by President Hage Geingob amidst the escalating drought crisis.

The funds will be directed towards humanitarian disaster relief with water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to be provided by the Namibia Red Cross Society to targeted drought-affected communities.

The aid follows the president's declaration earlier this month of a state of emergency due to the persistent and crippling drought conditions and the Namibian government's call for international support to supplement national efforts.

“This drought disaster assistance is a symbol of America's commitment to work in partnership with the Namibian government to help Namibia prosper,” Johnson said in a statement.

She said the US will continue to support the Namibian people and “together, I know we can alleviate some of the challenges this drought is causing”.

The drought has crippled many parts of the country following record low rainfall in the majority of regions. Crop production has been impacted while farmers are reporting loss of livestock due to the drought conditions.

Based on a five-year average vulnerability assessment, 556 000 people are estimated to be affected by the drought situation, which is almost one in five Namibians.

This is the third time in six years that government has declared a national state of emergency as a result of drought.

Drought was also declared a national crisis in 2013 and in 2016.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila earlier this month announced a N$572 million government intervention strategy in the National Assembly.

“Given the extent of the drought, these interventions will require the support of all Namibians, especially the business community and the international community. We therefore call on all Namibians and development partners to assist in any way possible, so that we provide for our people who are affected, as well as the livestock,” she said.

JANA-MARI SMITH