Namibia: Declare Kunene a Special Case – Muharukua

Kunene Regional Governor Angelika Muharukua this week said the region - which has endured seven consecutive years of severe drought - should be declared a special case.

As part of that declaration Muharukua urged government to consider supplying the entire region with drought relief food, as opposed to only providing food to 3 000 people who are currently registered to receive drought relief food.

The 3 000 registered residents are from special social groups such as pregnant women, the elderly and unemployed who, according to Muharukua, do not receive their drought food on time.

In total, Kunene has about 90 000 residents, the majority of whom depend on livestock for a living. But since the drought has affected animals and people alike, Muharukua said many residents are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

"Households in this part of the region are large and what is currently supplied is not enough," she told New Era.

"I am even tired of talking about drought because the Kunene Region has been affected by the drought for seven years now and the situation just keeps getting worse."

"We know that the entire country did not receive the much needed rainfall but the situation here in Kunene is worse. Both people and animals are badly affected," stressed Muharukua.

She further said that the land ministry was generous enough to supply the region with grass, which was used as fodder for the region. However, livestock in Kunene south are dying like flies as they did not benefit much from the gesture.

"Some people have decided to travel with their livestock to other regions in search of greener pastures," said Muharukua.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Red Cross Society has called on all Namibians to get involved in rendering assistance to an estimated 500 000 people affected by the drought countrywide. In a statement issued to the media, the Secretary General of the Namibia Red Cross Society, Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa, said the drought is critical and needs everyone's intervention.

"The Red Cross has been at the frontlines since October last year implementing response activities such as soup kitchens and water-point rehabilitation in regions such as Kunene and Kavango," said Kapembe-Haiduwa, stressing that government and the Namibia Red Cross Society alone cannot address every need.

Furthermore, touching on the work of the Red Cross, Kapembe-Haiduwa said the organization exists globally because of its strong network of volunteers who render humanitarian services even in the most dangerous environments, dealing with natural disasters or conflict situations where some have even lost their lives.

"We want to honour our fallen colleagues who died in the line of duty while protecting human dignity and we therefore commit ourselves to continue being steadfast in the midst of the challenges and at times dangerous circumstances we find ourselves in," said Kapembe-Haiduwa.

May 8 is recognized as World Red Cross Day and according to Kapembe-Haiduwa this year's theme "Everywhere for Everyone" is befitting as it re-emphasises the commitment of the Red Cross to humanitarian causes and non-discriminatory principles.

In Namibia the main event will be observed at Outapi in the Omusati Region today. Activities will start at 08h00 with a march through Outapi, while the main event will be held at the Outapi Community Hall as from 09h00.

Source: New Era