'Feed the hungry with fish'

It is unbearable that Namibians should starve while Namibia exports 95% of its fish, a community activist has said.

06 August 2020 | Fishing

ADOLF KAURE

SWAKOPMUND



Community activist and member of the Swakopmund Citizens Association (SCA), Jade McClune, recently urged the government to donate fish parcels to every Namibian household each month to end the hunger crisis.

Speaking at a petition handover at Swakopmund's DRC informal settlement, he said Namibia has enough fish resources to take care of its population.

“We call on the government to give to the Namibian people what belongs to them. We urge the government to combat the hunger crisis by at least allocating sufficient fish parcels to the poor, the elderly, the destitute and the needy.

“It is the right thing to do, and time is of the essence. The government has the legal authority and moral responsibility to ward off the famine that is ravaging our communities by any means necessary,” McClune said.



Thousands lose jobs

The event was organised by the SCA, the Landless People of Namibia, Affirmative Repositioning Swakopmund branches as well as the Swakopmund Community Engagement Group.

The community activist added that following the government-imposed restrictions under the Covid-19 state of emergency, many Namibian households have lost their main source of income.

“Thousands of workers have lost their jobs over the past few months, while hundreds of businesses have already closed down due to the collapse of the economy,” McClune said.

There have also been reports from social workers that a number of children have been admitted to Swakopmund State Hospital recently because their families can no longer afford to feed them.

On 25 May, a woman from Arandis allegedly died of starvation a day after being admitted at the hospital, leaving behind two young children.



Tragic and unbearable

“It is tragic and unbearable that our people should die of hunger while Namibia exports 95% of its fish produce.

“We regard it as a form of torturing the poor and we fear that the hunger crisis will worsen unless we tackle it with great urgency to avoid the further loss of life.

“There is now an unprecedented hunger crisis and the situation in our communities is becoming increasingly desperate. We are informed that there is a large amount of fish being held in cold storage in Walvis Bay,” McClune said.



Monthly initiative

At the petition handover, donations were given to those in need. One of the recipients, Launa Lameck (33), expressed her gratitude and asked for it to be a monthly initiative.

“Thank you very much for the food. I did not have any food at home. If you find more food, please give it to us again next month,” she said.

The parcel included 12 horse mackerel fish and one bag of maize meal.

The petition was addressed to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and fisheries minister Dr Albert Kawana.

Erongo governor Neville Andre was unavailable to receive the petition on government's behalf.

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