Millions for drought relief

Donations are pouring in to assist with drought-stricken, hungry citizens, now estimated to be more than 700 000 people.

18 September 2019 | Disasters

Countries are donating millions in aid to Namibia to assist the thousands of people that are in desperate need food assistance during the current drought.

The United States last week donated food aid and material support worth N$106 million.

Namibia is reeling from an El-Nino inflicted drought which has left farmers counting losses as both crops and livestock have been destroyed while more than 146 000 households are in need of food assistance until the next harvesting season.

This donation will provide food assistance consisting of more than 5 000 tonnes of food.

It will also provide some of Namibia's most vulnerable populations in the regions that are hardest hit by the drought with up to six months of food assistance and reach an estimated 110 000 Namibians.

The donation prioritises sourcing locally and from the regions as far as possible to reduce transportation costs and speed up delivery.

The donation was funded by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

American ambassador Lisa Johnson said: “The drought has brought real hardship to Namibia and significantly impacted livelihoods. Many of Namibia's most vulnerable citizens do not have enough food to eat. I have heard this personally from many people as I have travelled around the country recently, including to Kunene, Omusati, Kavango, and Zambezi.”

This donation builds on approximately N$1.44 million the USA availed for drought assistance through the US Agency for International Development's Office for Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in May this year.

The embassy of the United Arab Emirates also last week donated goods worth N$639 975 to Namibia.

Among the donated items were sanitary pads and school shoes which will be shared among pupils of the Moses Garoëb and Kwakwas primary schools, as well as those of the Khomastura and Westmond high schools.

The donation also includes food hampers for the drought relief programme, as well as wheelchairs and cleaning products for medical care facilities.

The 2018/19 rainfall season has been extremely poor with unprecedented drought conditions which have affected the entire country resulting in agricultural production losses and water shortages for human, livestock and industrial use.

The revised crop estimates showed massive reductions in harvest with aggregate cereals at 61% lower than the last season's harvest, and 52% below the average production.

Many rain-fed crop producing farmers recorded a complete crop failure.

Household food security has weakened significantly.

According to a recent cabinet decision, a plan to implement short and long-term interventions of the 'Livelihood and Vulnerability Assessment Report' was approved in principle.

The implementation of these interventions has to undergo further review to determine cost implications.

According to the plan, which was submitted by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, 712 138 beneficiaries have been registered for food assistance. Initially, the disaster risk management plan, which was initiated under the Office of the Prime Minister after the country's severe drought was declared a state of emergency earlier this year, estimated that about 257 383 people would require food assistance.





ELLANIE SMIT

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