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Drought increases threat of starvation

Drought increases threat of starvation

Gert Jacobie
WITH the drought intensifying and the current season entering the proverbial “graveyard shift” before the dawn of the next rainy season, the numbers of the severely affected are increasing daily.
Prime Minister Saarah Kuukongelwa-Amadhila said during the Town-Hall Meeting in Swakopmund, a recount of effected households what will need aid to survive the current hard times in the Erongo Region, have increased drastically since the initial registrations of vulnerable communities, following the announcement of the disaster by President Hage Geingob at the beginning of May this year.
Apart from that, the more than N$500 million that GRN budgeted for Drought Aid is not going to be enough and additional funds will have to be found to respond to the dire needs of saving humans and animals.
However, she is confident that government is doing all it can in response to the natural disaster that struck large parts of Southern Africa.
Namibia’s problems are unique though, and on top of the drought, water supply to the main urban centres is under threat. Windhoek, Gobabis town and the irrigation farms around the Hardap Dam near Mariental is of particular concern.
As reports are received, it is now clear that the Erongo, Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Karas and parts of Hardap and the Omaheke Regions are the worst affected by the ongoing drought.
Many thousands of households are in danger of starvation.
Government, under strain because of the shortage of money in bad economic times and the burden of policy execution, is hard pressed to give attention where it is needed.
“It is a work in progress” said the Prime Minister, to questions why pay-outs to claims with regards to drought-aid is not processed timely. “Many claims are incomplete and not accompanied by the correct paperwork. We cannot pay out before that has not been attended to,” she said in Swakopmund and the Hardap region’s Town Hall meetings.
What is glaringly obvious is that government is hard pressed to find the means to respond to all that the effected population cannot do without since the onset of the drought some six years ago.
The international donor community, with a view on the sub-region is not as forthcoming as was expected and the local donors are tiring out under the weight of need.

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