Clampdown On NCAs – As FMD Outbreaks Hit Ohangwena, Oshikoto

A total clampdown on the movement of animals and animal products from the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) has been ordered, as a result of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions.

The movement of animals from the south of the veterinary cordon fence to the NCAs has also been suspended as well as movement of animals across the NamibianAngolan border.

This comes after the dreaded disease forced Meatco’s Oshakati Abattoir to halt all operations earlier this year. All exports to South Africa were also banned due to an FMD outbreak in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions.

The latest outbreak, confirmed by Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Abaham Nehemia, has seen stringent measures put in place with immediate effect in order to combat and contain the disease.

After the closure of the Oshakati abattoir in January this year, the latest outbreak is a huge setback for communal farmers, as it could take six months for the FMD to be cleared up by South African authorities.

The Directorate of Veterinary Services (S) detected the outbreak on May 11 at the Ondama Youmunghete crushpen and on May 12 at the Okalupalona and Onehanga crushpens in the Okongo Constituency of the Ohangwena Region.

A second outbreak was detected on May 13 at Okakango village in the Okankolo Constituency of the Oshikoto Region.

After the central veterinary laboratory confirmed the disease last week, the chief veterinary officer of the S, Dr John Shoopala, would effect and enforce strict disease control measures in accordance with the Animal Health Act No. 1 of 2011. To control the outbreak, the S subdivided the NCAs into infected, containment and surveillance areas.

Infected areas currently consist of Okongo and Okankolo constituencies but it may change as more surveillance data becomes available.

The containment area is a line along the B1 road from Oshivelo to Oshikango border post, then from Oshivelo to Bravo Gate, from Bravo Gate via Mpungu Vlei to Katwitwi border post and the NamibianAngolan border post.

The surveillance area will comprise the FMD protecting zone, which composes of all regions in the NCAs west of Shamagorwa veterinary fence in Kavango East and Kunene north. Due to the seriousness of the outbreaks, Nehemia aises farmers and the public not to move cattle, goats, sheep and wild animals, meat, milk, hides, manure, horns, bones, trophies and potentially infectious material such as thatching grass, hay, straw, crop residue from the infected and containment areas to any part of Namibia.

Movement outside the containment area must be authorised by the S, which would use Red Cross movement permits for the rest of the NCAs west of a fence at Shamagorwa up to the northern part of Kunene. Nehemia has confirmed that the S has deployed surveillance teams to investigate the extent of the disease outbreak and to determine the source of the infection as a matter of urgency.

FMD is spread by movement of infected animals and animal products, including contaminated vehicles, clothes, shoes and other objects.

Road blocks would be set up at strategic points to restrict movement of unauthorised animals and animal products and to disinfect vehicles.

Source : New Era