Following recent veld fire reports in the country, the Old Mutual Foundation has donated firefighting equipment valued at N$145 000 to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism(MEFT) in support of extinguishing veld fires.
The fires are reported to be seasonal during the months of July and October.
After engagements with the ministry, the Old Mutual Foundation says it partnered with AGRA Limited and sponsored five firefighting machines to assist the regions where veld fires tend to occur. AGRA offered a total discount on the five machines to the value of N$40 000. “What we have witnessed in terms of the dangers posed and the number of terrains decimated in veld fires, demonstrates a clear environmental threat to Namibian communities, impacting food security but most importantly the threat it poses to the lives of Namibians. Thus, as the Old Mutual Foundation, we saw the need to play a proactive role” Old Mutual Marketing Executive Mignon du Preez stated.
The yearly rainy season in Namibia tends to occur in the months of November to April. This year Namibia received higher volumes of rainfall, although some parts are yet to receive some showers.
However, after the rainy season, grasslands tend to dry which increases the risk of possible natural disasters such as veld fires.
Last year, Namibia experienced devastating veld fires which destroyed 1 489 385 hectares at the end of November 2022, causing severe injuries and loss of life to both humans and animals and equally damaging property and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Agra Brand and Communication Manager Piet Stoman Jr, equally shared the same sentiments saying that “As the household name in Agriculture, Agra is proud to be a part of this initiative. We are all too familiar with the devastation caused by veld fires and have first-hand experience with the dangers, the losses, and the after-effects of fires”.
Stoman says that the firefighters and the new equipment will play an important role in serving communities across Namibia by helping to save lives and livelihoods for years to come.
Accepting the donation on behalf of the MEFT, was Esmerialda Strauss the Deputy Director of Forest and Botanical Research, who welcomed the donation of five firefighting machines which have since been dispatched to the Forestry Regional Offices in five regions, particularly in Outjo, Kunene Region, Rundu, Kavango West Region Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region Otjiwarongo, Otjozondjupa Region Rehoboth and Hardap Region.
The machines will be managed by the respective offices and will be available to stakeholders in the event of a fire emergency. Fire preparedness activities by the Directorate of Forestry include the management of veld fires through prevention and suppression, community outreach, education, and awareness as well as stakeholder engagement.