NRCS bracing itself for another drought year in Kunene

18 Mar 2014 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 18 MAR (NAMPA) – The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) is bracing itself for another year of drought as the situation has not changed much in some parts of the country.
Speaking at an update on the drought situation on Tuesday, NRCS Secretary-General Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa raised the concern that the drought situation in Namibia did not change much, particularly in the Kunene Region.
“The NRCS is bracing itself for another year of drought, as the crop and livestock situation has not changed much particularly in the Kunene Region, thus fading all hope for an end to the drought situation in the country. We however remain hopeful that the recent rains could improve the situation completely,” she stressed.
Kapembe-Kaiduwa commended Namibians for their support and the donations that were received during the drought emergency situation which was declared as such by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in May 2013.
She noted that citizens also gave support the ‘Namibians Helping Namibians’ campaign which was supported by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the Pick n Pay chain stores under the Ohlthaver and List Group.
About that campaign, Kapembe-Haiduwa pointed out that financial donations amounted to about N.dollars 144 000 and food items worth N.dollars 12 000 were distributed to beneficiaries through soup kitchens. Various beneficiaries also received new and second-hand clothing.
“The drive attracted more second-hand clothes than food items, which were a priority for the drought responses. Transport of donated items was a challenge in areas where the NCRS has no office,” she stressed.
NRCS launched an emergency drought appeal on 03 July 2013, seeking about N.dollars 12 million. Other interventions of NRCS included soup kitchens in the Kunene, Ohangwena, Kavango and Oshikoto regions; a cash transfer programme; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion initiative; agricultural support programme; and nutrition surveillance.
About 2 837 people benefitted from the soup kitchens, where a total of 236 400 meals were served in these regions to date.
Records of the cash transfer programme indicated that 2 032 residents in the Kunene Region received N.dollars 300 per month, and more than N.dollars 2 million was distributed so far.
“The goal of the programme was to “restore dignity to people to go for shopping” and not depend only on hand-outs,” she stated.
About the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, Kapembe-Haiduwa stressed that households in the Kunene, Kavango and Ohangwena regions were targeted.
NCRS provided jerry cans, water purification tablets, buckets, soap, and water dispenses to 2 733 households.
As regards the agricultural support initiative in the Kunene, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Kavango regions, Kapembe-Haiduwa raised the concern that some members of households ate some of the seedlings that was distributed by government.
Agricultural support included farmer training, seed and implements distribution, and some 3 205 households benefitted from this support.
On nutrition surveillance in the Kavango, Kunene, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Zambezi regions, she said the Red Cross reached 3 205 households with the goal to save lives, protect livelihoods and strengthen recovery from disasters and crises.
More than N.dollars 5.7 million, including in-kind donations consisting of mostly tinned fish and cooking oil, were received nationally while N.dollars 9 million was cashed in from international partners.
“The crop assessment for 2014 will determine the way forward in other regions throughout the country, especially in the Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kavango regions. Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion is continuing, taking into consideration the incidences of cholera that broke out in the Kunene Region,” she added.