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330,000 households register to receive food aid – News

…As Namibia faces worst drought in 100 years

Around 331,000 households across the country have registered to receive food aid for drought relief.

Prime Minister’s Office Executive Director I-Ben Nashandi says vulnerability assessments and analyzes conducted in 2023 estimated that 172,200 households would need assistance due to food insecurity.

It says the government has budgeted N$825 million for the drought relief programme, but this would only cover 172,200 households.

“The numbers are jumping from 172,000 to 331,000, because some registered people have jobs. That’s why we’re seeing food being stolen to alleviate the drought.”

He says in some constituencies school principals, chief executives, teachers and nurses are receiving food to alleviate the drought, while the government does not have the means to feed everyone.

Buckling under drought

Jeremias Goeieman, councilor for the Beersheba district in the //Kharas region, says the prolonged drought is not only affecting farmers, but also towns and cities that depend on subsistence and commercial agriculture.

“The backbone of Berseba was agriculture to keep the local economies of towns like Tses, Berseba and Kutenhoas running. But now we are suffering.

“It would have been better if the government had provided alfalfa and feed. “Animals need food,” she says.

Goeieman says the areas were already facing the challenge of unemployment and now the drought is also driving people to the cities.

“The farmers who were strong are now left with only empty kraals.” . . When you arrive at some houses you wonder how these people arrive from one day to the next,” she says.

Goeieman says the Beersheba constituency is facing water problems.

Aging water infrastructure is forcing farmers and community members to travel 10 kilometers or more to access water for their animals and daily use.

‘RIVERS ARE DRYING AT AN ALARMING RATE’

Zambezi Governor Lawrence Sampofu says that even though the region has four rivers, it still faces a serious water crisis.

The governor and electoral councilors revealed this on Friday during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister John Mutorwa.

“Human-wildlife conflicts are increasing in the region due to these water challenges, as everyone depends on the few resources available.

“We have wells, but some of them are drying up as underground sources dry up. “We really need more drilling,” he stated.

Kabbe North constituency councilor Bernard Sisamu said the river channels between Zambia and Namibia are drying up at an alarming rate.

In August, citizens will be able to cross on foot without the need for canoes, he said.

“I’ve never seen a drought like this,” Sisamu said.

ADDITIONAL WATER CHALLENGES

Judea Lyaboloma constituency councilor Humphrey Divai says residents of the Zambezi region are protesting over the lack of clean water 34 years after independence.

“Our people need water in the electoral districts. There is a great need to drill more wells,” she says.

Sibbinda constituency councilor Miecky Lukaezi says communities, including schools and livestock, mainly rely on water from the NamWater pipeline, but most water sources are currently closed due to backlogs.

“The people of Kasheshe threaten to take their cattle to Katima Mulilo to drink from the Zambezi River,” he says.

“Desalination will really help by increasing the capacity of water availability for our industries, residents and livestock,” says Erongo Governor Neville Andre.

He says not only the farmers but also the communities of Erongo are threatened by the lack of water.

“This would have serious economic repercussions,” he says.

LOCAL ECONOMIES HIRING

Hardap Governor Salomon April describes the drought situation as serious.

He says the Hardap region’s economy has been in decline since the start of the drought eight years ago and is threatening to come to a complete halt.

April says the government’s drought relief program is a mitigating factor, although not integral.

“I assure you that at this moment it is about survival, since the situation is terrible,” he says.

Erongo Governor André recognizes the seriousness of the situation, especially in the electoral districts of Dâures and Karibib, and in Utuseb, in the rural district of Walvis Bay.

“I think we’ve experienced a prolonged drought for about eight years, where we haven’t really gotten any rain. So the problem is serious,” she states.

Christian Traupe of the Omaruru Farmers Association says the current drought in Namibia is serious.
“It’s the worst thing we’ve ever experienced,” he says.

Traupe says the only hope is for good rains next season.

“It remains to be seen if we can wait until then before we lose everything,” he says.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

The government approved the implementation of the drought relief program for the fiscal year 2024/25.
An estimated $825 million has been budgeted for the program.

“A sum of N$600 million has been designated specifically for food assistance for affected communities, with distribution expected to begin from July 1 to June 30, 2025.

“25 million dollars have been allocated for the availability of seeds and horticultural activities, 100 million for the continuation of the livestock support program and another 100 million will be allocated to improve water supply through the installation of wells,” said Emma Theofelus , Minister of Information. and communications technology, she said recently speaking about Cabinet decisions.

On Monday this week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an extraordinary virtual summit of heads of state and government to discuss the humanitarian situation in the region, following the current El Niño-induced drought that has negatively impacted the lives and livelihoods of an estimated 58 million people.

Following the summit, SADC launched a humanitarian appeal to raise at least US$5.5 billion (N$99 billion) to mobilize internal and external resources to assist affected member states.

Schlettwein Street

INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein told the World Water Forum in Bali on Monday that Namibia is facing its worst drought in 100 years.

“This situation is indicative that surface and groundwater resources will be less reliable. This will have a negative impact on food security, health and hygiene, and overall prosperity,” he stated.

Namibia, which relies heavily on shared water sources with its neighbors, is actively pursuing collaborative management strategies.

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