Kavango East struggling to deliver food aid

22 July 2019 | Disasters

The Kavango East regional council is facing challenges with the distribution of drought relief food, its acting chief regional officer Ambossius Makongwa has said.

Last week he said only 2 325 people have benefited from the initiative thus far as the two trucks made available by the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) are insufficient to handle the distribution to the 6 975 intended beneficiaries in the six constituencies in the region.

“Challenges picked up so far which are critical include transport. It becomes very difficult for two trucks to cater to all the six constituencies in the whole region. It becomes difficult as people are expecting to receive aid each and every month,” said Makongwa.

Since May this year, a total of 2 325 bags of maize meal and cooking oil and 9 300 tinned fish have been distributed to beneficiaries, while this month, beneficiaries are still waiting to receive their allocation due to the transportation challenges.

According to the distribution ratio, one household is expected to receive one bag of maize meal, one bottle of cooking oil, and four cans of tinned fish.

Makongwa added that the programme is also being affected by a lack of personnel to work on the distribution team as only 10 members from the NDF have been assigned to work on the programme in the region by the president's office.

To mitigate the issue, Makongwa said his office is looking at the availability of funds in the council's emergency fund to provide fuel for the two trucks of the council and other vehicles to distribute the drought relief food to the intended beneficiaries. Meanwhile, at Omaheke, where farmers have been crippled by the prevailing drought conditions, the Omaheke Regional Farmers' Union (ORFU) urged local universities to develop short courses for farmers to mitigate and enhance preparedness for drought conditions.

According to a Drought and Marketing Assessment Report compiled by the union, its chairperson Lesley Kauandara said that it recommended a range of interventions for the drought situation, one of which is the development of a training course for farmers in drought mitigation by local universities.

The union, at a recent town hall meeting with President Hage Geingob in Gobabis, outlined that the drought has farmers exhausting all avenues to mitigate its effects and requested universities to assist them through their research and knowledge base.

NAMPA

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