PM calls for distinction on hunger's causes

17 Oct 2013 12:20pm
WINDHOEK, 17 OCT (NAMPA) – Prime Minister Hage Geingob on Wednesday asked that a distinction be made between chronic hunger and malnutrition, and hunger caused by a lack of rain due to drought.
He made this call in parliament when he gave an update on the devastating drought currently ravaging the country.
Geingob pointed out that much has been said with regards to malnutrition and hunger, in which several reports attempted to link some deaths from chronic hunger to the drought.
“This is despite the fact that we have had these unfortunate occurrences even before the declaration of a drought emergency by President Hifikepunye Pohamba”, he pointed out.
With the country aware that 14 per cent of its citizens live in abject poverty, Geingob noted that he hopes that some people have not discovered this fact only now during the drought.
The National Disaster Risk Management Committee was established to deal with people who are affected by hunger caused by drought, and citizens who are suffering from poverty can, however, not be ignored.
As far as citizens affected by drought are concerned, the Premier said an emergency food security assessment was conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) during April 2013.
The objective of that exercise was to evaluate the current drought conditions on various sectors, including crop and livestock production, water quality and access, health and nutrition, trade conditions as well as general food security conditions at household level.
“The exercise identified 330 925 people across the entire country as being food-insecure. Unfortunately since that report was published, the number has gone up as people have decided to add their relatives and friends to the list”, he added.
The identification of these Namibians who are food-insecure has thus necessitated a multi-pronged approach to ensure that food reaches these people as soon as possible.