Hunger is not only caused by drought – Geingob

02 Jul 2013 09:00

Prime Minister Hage Geingob says hunger is a chronic situation in some of the areas of the country and is not necessarily caused by the current drought situation.

Geingob said this when he received food donation for the drought relief program at his office last week.

“Some cases of hunger are chronic where people are not suffering because of drought but as a result of poverty. But we will ensure that the assistance reaches the most severely affected areas,” said Geingob.

According to Geingob, areas such as Ruacana are severely affected in terms of the unavailability of water.

He added that transport is also one of the problems that are being experienced in the area which results in the food taking long before it reaches the needy.

Geingob said, while the government has set aside N$11m for the drilling of boreholes, the exercise is extremely expensive.

The drilling of one borehole costs close to N$300 000 and needs to be paid for even if the boreholes do not bring water.

However, Geingob said that there are possible fraudulent dealings in the drought emergency relief program being investigated by the government.

According the prime minister, people are taking advantage of the emergency drought program by overcharging government for drilling boreholes.

There werereports in some instances where boreholes which did not even exist were indicated to have been drilled and thus paid for by the government.

There have also been reports that employed people are registering to benefit from the government food relief programme intended for people who are hardest hit by the drought situation.

 This includes the heads of households falsifying the number of dependants under their care to appear more vulnerable than others.

Geingob said that this will not be tolerated and that people found exercising such practices will be dealt with accordingly.

He further added that the devastating drought should be dealt with as an emergency and not as any other normal situation.

“Although the government is committed to addressing the drought situation, we must understand that this is a national emergency.

“Therefore, we need a committed effort and a spirit of solidarity to ensure that we overcome this drought situation,” Geingob said.

The Director of Disaster Risk Management in the Office of the Prime Minister, Japhet Iitenge said the drought relief distribution is going well so far and the next distribution will start later this month.

“Forty thousand metric tons of food is currently being distributed to each region and this is for those in critical need for food,” said Iitenge.

The Cabinet approved drought relief programme was started in May after President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s official declaration of a state of emergency as a result of a ravaging drought that caused farmers to lose hundreds of livestock, while crop production was also heavily affected.