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We Must Never Walk Alone

We Must Never Walk Alone

THE drought that has Namibia in an unshakable grip, now has a name and Namibians cannot adopt a wait and see approach to find out what is next when a National State of Emergency is declared by the President.
To find out what comes next, is not to wait for government to announce the food and water distribution points. That will come. Many private and corporate initiatives are under way and that is the measure of being Namibian. It should be commended and something the nation must be proud of.
What is next is that Namibian resilience, efficiency and empathy must be mobilised and raised beyond civil service and national duty for emergency measures to make a significant impact.
Government already announced at various occasions that hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on emergency relief, but money alone will not solve the problem. When money is scarce, civil service and duty must weigh in, as nothing can be lost.
The consultation of local expertise and traditional knowledge must especially not be underestimated as the effects of drought are not the same everywhere and there are regions in the vast expanses that can be called “forgotten”, but they themselves never forgot their experiences in difficult times unlike councillors and representatives who are now visitors to the regions and communities they hail from.
The State of Emergency should jolt Namibian memories into action. A list of fixed and mobile polling booths in the 2014 elections might be a good guide to see to it that nobody is left out. It is a vast record where people are or might be and should be useful.
The civil service will be tested to its limits and the State of Emergency will indicate whether the nation has the capacity to distribute aid and assistance at the most cost effective way to as many as possible and as regularly as possible.
Nobody knows for how long and how deep the drought will really cut. It has wounded the majority of society severely and will injure still more by disrupting everyday life that can hardly be imagined from an office in one of the well- developed towns or cars speeding past animals grazing next to the road without knowing that it might be a cattle herder that is on his way to a promised land hundreds of kilometres away. Rather drive slowly and ask whether the wandering Nomad has some water. It is also assistance. Be thankful not to be on the roadside saving cattle or sheep.
The National State of Emergency is not only a lack of water, grass or hunger.
It is a national disaster that requires a sense of urgency, because it is an emergency.
Already there is agreement between community, science and history that Namibia has never seen a drought like this one before.
Namibians now needs to agree that we must overcome together so that we also experience the good times, because good always follows bad.
Namibians will be the better for it, because a lot of knowledge flows from adversity.

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