Drought Reaches Crisis Proportions

Grazing and livelihoods have rapidly deteriorated as the dry spell worsens in many parts of northern Namibia.

People and livestock in especially Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kunene regions are seriously affected by the water crisis following erratic rainfall this year.Chairman of the Kunene Regional Council Dudu Murorua said Kunene only received 83 millimetres of rain – and as a result people and elephants graze and search for water in the same areas, which poses a threat to humans.

“This is a challenge as people and elephants are going to the same areas because of drought,” said Murorua.Murorua said the other challenge is that when people migrate to other areas in search of greener pastures their villages are occupied by other people, who claim ownership of the deserted settlements.

However, Murorua says Kunene residents are currently being trained to practise rotational grazing.

“The community in Kunene is receiving grazing training, where they are taught to move to other areas to rest the areas which they have grazed already. However when they move from the place other people move to the area,” said Murorua.

Chairman of the Ohangwena Regional Council Paulus Mwahanyekange said the grazing and the water crises have also reached alarming levels in Ohangwena.

Mwahanyekange said cattle farmers are flocking to Angola in search of better grazing. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry cattle go as far as 250 km inside Angola. Mwahanyekange said the crisis is also a challenge for the San communities in Ohangwena.

He said there is a need for bulk water supply in Epembe to save the San.

Earlier this year, the governor of Ohangwena Region warned farmers to refrain from fencing off areas in Angola illegally.

The chairman of the Oshikoto Regional Council Marx Nekongo said that Oshikoto is also badly affected. According to Nekongo there is no water and no grass in the grazing areas of Omuntele and Omangeti.

Nekongo urged the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to supply a water pipeline and build an earth dam in Onanke where farmers continue to flock in search of grazing.

Nekongo said the areas of Okankolo, Eengodi and Nehale lya Mpingana need a borehole to save livestock and people, especially the San.

Source : New Era