International drought SOS

The Namibia Red Cross will implement several emergency food assistance and recovery activities, such as cash and in-kind food distribution.

19 December 2019 | Disasters

A multi-country emergency appeal has been launched which seeks about N$33.4 million to assist drought-stricken communities in the Kunene Region.

The appeal is targeting 18 000 people from the Kunene and will focus on providing food assistance and supporting the recovery of livelihoods in households affected by drought through a combination of cash, food vouchers, livestock water point rehabilitation, feed vouchers, seed, tools and technical advice.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched the emergency appeal for 7.7 million Swiss francs (about N$113.2 million) last week.

The aim of the appeal is to support Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia to deliver assistance to 81 000 people (16 200 households) affected by the drought until April 2021 with a focus on livelihoods and basic needs.

According to the appeal report the selection of target communities is based on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis and National Vulnerability Assessment (NVAC) reports.

In consultations with the respective National Societies and in-country partners, the areas selected are where other non-Red Cross Red Crescent partners are not operational.

“Southern Africa currently has over 11 million people experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and above) in nine countries (Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe),” the report says.

Meanwhile Angola, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia have already declared states of drought emergency this year, requiring international assistance to address the worsening food insecurity.

According to the report Namibia was affected by prolonged dry weather in the 2018/19 cropping season.

“This led to below-average production in 2019, severe water shortages and poor pasture conditions. This in turn affected livestock conditions causing a massive drop in prices as well as trade value.”



Livestock mortalities

The long dry spell also resulted in increased livestock mortalities, with an estimated 59 000 animals, mainly cattle, that died as a result of drought, the report says.

According to the Namibia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (NVAC), over 289 644 people are food insecure and need immediate food assistance. This number is expected to rise during the 2019/2020 consumption period.

“The country is working on its first IPC analysis and although not yet officially published, eight out of the 14 regions analysed are in IPC 3, and current rainfall forecasts indicate the situation may worsen.”

According to the report the eight most affected regions are Hardap, Kavango East, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati, Omaheke and Zambezi.

The report says that the government has allocated resources to respond to the worsening food insecurity and water crisis and this support is planned to run till March 2020.

Areas of government support include: distribution of food parcels, provision of water, enhanced animal health support, enhanced fodder production at irrigation schemes, which will be distributed to needy farmers, and a 50% subsidy scheme to enable small-scale farmers to establish hydroponic fodder production facilities.

“The government support is countrywide but falls short of reaching all the people in need,” the appeal states.



Worst affected

According to the report the Kunene Region is among the worst affected areas and the Namibian Red Cross has selected to focus its response activities there, as it is one of the 'hard-to-reach' districts' with hardly any ongoing assistance for the most affected households.

It said that the national society has ongoing programmes in the region on which to build its response. These include the rehabilitation of 15 water points reaching 1 500 households and the rehabilitation of 16 additional water points reaching 1 700 households.

Building on these interventions, the Namibia Red Cross will implement several emergency food assistance and recovery activities, such as cash and in-kind food distribution.

According to the report the support is anticipated to reach 2 500 families.



Water points

With regard to the rehabilitation of livestock water points, the report says to increase access to water for the livestock of the most affected people in Kunene, Namibia Red Cross will rehabilitate 20 key water points mainly using local labour and materials.

Alongside this activity, Namibia Red Cross will work with the department of water to promote local techniques and approaches in rehabilitation and maintenance of the water sources.

This activity will be linked to the ongoing interventions on water rehabilitation to maximise learning, technical expertise and replication of learning.

Furthermore, the Namibia Red Cross will provide livestock feed through vouchers/direct distribution to 3 600 farmers. This support will be given for six months.

The funding requirements for Namibia is N$28.4 million for the livelihoods and basic needs component, 3.2 million for effective disaster management and N$1.76 million for strengthening national societies.

ELLANIE SMIT

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