Namibia preparing for drought aftermath: Geingob

15 Nov 2013 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 NOV (NAMPA) - The Directorate of Disaster Risk Management (DDRM) in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is hard at work preparing for the aftermath of the current drought situation in the country.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob told members of the Swapo-Party Women’s Council’s Oshana Regional Executive Committee during a courtesy call to his office on Thursday that the devastating drought will have severe consequences for Namibians next year.
The DDRM predicted that come May 2014, many Namibians will be in dire need of food.
“If the rain come now, we are not out of it (drought) yet, and we still have to plan for next year. We are facing serious problems as there was no harvesting done (this year). Therefore, there is no food and we should feed the hungry,” he noted.
Meanwhile, heavy showers were reported over the northern parts of the country on Thursday morning, a welcome development during a devastating drought which has killed thousands of heads of livestock, and left just as many starving.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in its latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report issued for October 2013 noted that Namibia recorded a sharp 42 per cent decrease in cereal production relative to 2012 due to drought.
Although Namibia is a net importer, the significant decline has seriously stressed food security conditions in northern areas, according to the report.
Regarding the overall deterioration in food security mainly due to production shortfalls, the FAO stated that Namibia has experienced the sharpest deterioration, with an estimated 778 504 persons assessed as being food insecure.
Of these, approximately 330 000 are in need of emergency assistance. The current figure is a significant increase from the 75 000 assessed in the previous year, with some northern regions experiencing a second consecutive year of drought conditions, which has forced many households to implement a number of coping strategies.
“In response, the government has initiated several short and long-term interventions, including emergency food aid distributions. Although the country has the capacity to import sufficient quantities of cereals, households’ access to market supplies is expected to be constrained due to reduced livestock prices and limited local harvest,” it added.