Drought Worse Than Floods: Pohamba

23 May 2013 06:39

WINDHOEK, 20 MAY (NAMPA) ? President Hifikepunye Pohamba says this year's drought, the worst in decades, is more serious than the floods which devastated the north and north-eastern parts of the country over the past few years.
He thus declared a state of emergency on the current drought situation in the country on Friday.
Pohamba said unlike the floods, the magnitude of the drought situation is severe and is affecting the whole country.
?Our people are facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions as a result of the devastating drought. As a result, the survival of a large percentage of our population is under serious threat,? he said.
He also expressed concern about the destructive impact of the drought, saying it is affecting both human and animal life.
The drought, he added, has already devastated many communities while it has also negatively affected economic activities in Namibia.
Pohamba noted that according to the Inter-Agency Emergency Food Security Assessment, which was recently conducted throughout the country, the harvest prospect for 2012/2013 will remain extremely below average production levels as the drought conditions intensify.
He added that the crop production outlook in the crop-producing regions showed a massive reduction in maize production, even under rain-fed conditions.
?In the communal crop-producing regions, this is expected to decrease by 48 per cent below average,? he said, adding that the production outlook for pearl millet is expected to decrease by 41 per cent compared to the last season.
The assessment, he stressed, also revealed that household food security in most regions is tightening as the hunger situation worsens.
Most households depleted their food stocks in September last year, and they are now mainly dependent on the market for food access, Pohamba said.
?Poor grazing conditions are threatening the livestock in the country as the drought conditions strengthen. Indeed a considerable number of large and small stock have already died as a result of the drought,? he explained, saying in most cases the condition of livestock is already poor.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to sell some livestock in order to prevent further losses, the Head of State suggested.
He said the government resources alone cannot cope with the situation, and he thus called on the nation to work together and to act only in the national interest as they offer assistance to their fellow citizens wherever such assistance is needed or required.
The Namibian leader also appealed to the international community to assist the government in the present crisis situation and its aftermath.
He invited citizens, development partners and other stakeholders to work closely with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as the central coordinating unit of the government for disaster management.