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908,000 benefitting from drought relief


Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Wednesday that the estimated number of household beneficiaries for drought relief was initially 42,000 but has now been revised up to 172 938 household that comprises of about 908,018 people.

Addressing ministers, deputy ministers, governors and regional council officials in Windhoek, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said also the drought relief initial budget of N$572.7 million.

She said the money was broken into N$120m for food; N$24m for logistics; N$291m for water and N$138m for livestock support.

According to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the drought state of emergency declared by President Hage Geingob on 6 May 2019 has been extended by six until 5 March 2020.

“We have noted that the climatic conditions continue to be unfavourable, with negative effects on our communities, and on the livestock, as the grazing conditions continue to deteriorate. As we are entering the next phase of this disaster, our focus will remain on saving lives and also on investing in building resilience, so that we reduce the vulnerability of our communities and our economy to the effects of future droughts,” she said.

She further said that with regards to distribution points, there were concerns raised by communities in some Regions about travelling long distances to collect drought relief food.

The Regional Councils must establish distributions points within the reach of communities so that no beneficiary should incur the high cost of transportation to collect their rations.

“The standard items in the food package may, at times, be substituted with donated items, for example, maize meal flour replaced with rice. This should not be seen as a deviation in the composition of the standard food ration package or a form of discrimination especially where the quantities of donated items are not enough to provide to all beneficiaries,” she added.

The prime minister also said that the defence force will assist with the logistics as well as warehouses for storage of the drought relief supplies. The defence force trucks, she explained, should be seen as a supplement to those of the Regional Council and other public institutions.

Although the defence force trucks will be used, the prime minister said the government was relying on regional councils for smooth and uninterrupted distribution of drought relief since they had received N$500 000 for emergencies such as breakdowns.

“As the Namibian Defence Force personnel may not be available in some areas, we have authorized the recruitment of volunteers to
assist with the offloading and on loading of drought relief. We have noted with appreciation the contribution of Namibia Red Cross Society by way of providing volunteers in Regions such as Kunene, Omusati and Ohangwena,” she said.

The funds for water provisions amounting to N$37.5 million were transferred to various Regional Council to ensure speedy implementation of the program.

“I am informed that up to 139 boreholes and water points are in the process of being rehabilitated with these funds,” she said.



Wonder Guchu

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