15 Aug 2013 05:20
OPUWO, 14 AUG (NAMPA) - The Namibia Red Cross Society's (NRCS) one meal per day to some residents of Kunene is truly saving lives.
The Society has since last month been providing vulnerable people with meals at its soup kitchens in Opuwo and Khorixas as part of assisting Government to feed the needy and drought-affected.
The meals are distributed at 12h00 each week day, and consist of either porridge or rice with meat or mince mixed with vegetables.
Many people were seen in Opuwo on Wednesday, lining up to receive a plate of food at the two Red Cross soup kitchens.
For some it is the only meal of the day.
Mother of five children, Muailemo Vetuhuta, told Nampa on enquiry that the single meal provided by the Red Cross is the only reliable meal they live on.
I collect firewood to sell, and use the money to buy maize meal to cook porridge, but we do not have relish to eat with it, said Vetuhuta.
She said the soup kitchen really helps a lot especially to feed her children, but parents still have to look for other means to provide food for their children, which is through wood collection.
She travels about 7km on foot to collect firewood.
Beneficiaries of this single meal per day are the really vulnerable people of the region, given that they are uneducated, unskilled, unemployed, and mostly single mothers.
Residents of informal settlements in Opuwo have been registered to receive drought-relief food from the government, but have not yet received any assistance in that regard.
Opuwo has two soup kitchens and is able to feed about 400 people in total, including children under the age of five, pensioners and other vulnerable members of the society.
One is at the Red Cross office to cater for residents of the Otuzemba and Orutjandja informal locations, and the second one is at the Okatutura location.
Regional Manager of the RCSN for Kunene, Kakarandua Mutambo said the beneficiaries are identified from the list of people who were treated for malnutrition by the Ministry of Health and Social Services here.
Mutambo told Nampa on Wednesday, a third soup kitchen would be opened at the Okondaunwe village, four kilometres from Opuwo, soon, while more kitchens are earmarked for Khamajab and Outjo.
According to Mutambo, the number of the people who come for the meals dropped from 190 people in the first week to 60 this past week, because many parents go to collect firewood to sell.
Rundu in Kavango East is the other town where the NRSC had opened a soup kitchen.