Drought emergency declaration better late than never: Muharukua

14 May 2019 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 MAY (NAMPA) – The councillor of drought-stricken Epupa Constituency, Nguzu Muharukua has welcomed President Hage Geingob’s decision to declare a state of emergency due to the drought.
However, he said the president’s proclamation, which will see all offices, ministries, agencies and resources mobilised to ensure that the necessary assistance is rolled out to affected communities, came rather too late to make a significant impact.
He made these remarks in an interview with Nampa outside the National Council in the capital on Tuesday.
“The intervention would have had a greater impact had it been made earlier. But further delays would have let the situation deteriorate to levels never seen before and by the time Government steps in, people would have already starved to death,” he said.
According to Muharukua, the onus is now upon those tasked with implementing the national emergency plans to ensure that aid reaches deserving Namibians.
“When this grant reaches the regions, we as regional councillors must be part of its distribution to ensure that it reaches the right people,” he noted.
As the Epupa Constituency community await the subvention, the drought situation remains dire and does not look like it will abate in the coming years, he added.
“The situation will never improve, maybe in our dreams but the reality on the ground doesn’t look promising. That’s why we want the whole process of distributing this assistance to be expedited,” the Popular Democratic Movement politician said.
Muharukua also challenged people in his constituency to start rethinking their approach in agriculture, saying the status quo cannot remain amid the perennial drought situation.
“Farmers should be innovative. They have to start finding other ways of farming. This process will not happen overnight, especially to people who have known one type of farming their entire lives, but the situation dictates otherwise,” he noted.
Also speaking to Nampa, Opuwo Urban Constituency councillor, Weich Mupya said the drought caught residents in his constituency off-guard.
“This drought caught everybody by surprise, so I cannot blame anyone for not proclaiming a national emergency. There were efforts from the various stakeholders. But we all know that in this precarious economic situation we find ourselves in, it is difficult to address such situations,” he said.
Mupya shared that at the regional level (Kunene), they have come up with a report detailing how each of the seven constituencies were affected by the current drought.
Government has budgeted N.dollars 573 million for drought relief.