Crisis-level drought justifies a state of emergency

Niël Terblanché

The National Democratic Party (NDP) is urging the Namibian government to declare a national state of emergency in response to the severe drought conditions afflicting the nation.

Party president, Martin Lukato emphasized the grave situation by pointing out widespread crop failures, escalating food shortages, and the critical lack of water affecting both people and livestock across the country.

The NDP’s appeal stresses the urgent need for increased resources and better coordination to effectively tackle the crisis at hand.

Lukato said collaboration between the government and various stakeholders to bolster support mechanisms for those people hardest hit by the drought, is needed urgently.

Among the most vulnerable are senior citizens, many of whom depend on communal farming and government social grants to survive.

Lukato said that despite a N$200 increase in pensions, the measure still falls short in alleviating the impact of rising food prices, including staple items like maize meal.

The dire situation is palpably felt in Zambezi, where farmers face mounting losses due to the lack of rainfall.

The region, dependent on both subsistence and commercial farming, is reeling from not only this year’s drought but also the destruction of last year’s crops by wildlife, exacerbated by the current absence of rain.

Residents of Maalo village, located near Lake Lyambezi in the Muyako area, are struggling to keep their heads above water.

One farmer, who had anticipated a harvest of two thousand bags of maize and invested over N$30,000 in labour for his 80-hectare farm, now faces the harsh reality of the drought’s impact.

In light of these challenges, the farmer offered advice to his peers, suggesting a shift in focus from commercial farming to cultivating smaller plots for personal consumption.

This strategy aims to minimize costs while ensuring food security during such difficult times.

Like Lukato the farmer called on the government to invest in agriculture to mitigate the country’s food insecurity issues.

The NDP’s call for a national state of emergency stresses the need for immediate and coordinated action to address the devastating effects of the drought.

According to Lukato, support, and resilience are urgently needed in the face of one of the most serious challenges the country has faced in recent times.

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