Namibia receives humanitarian support against hunger

Niël Terblanché

The Government of the State of Qatar has donated 102 tons of food parcels to Namibia, aimed at alleviating the severe drought-induced food insecurity plaguing the country.

The Office of the Prime Minister received the first consignment of 60 pallets, comprising of food packages of essential food items such as maize meal, rice, cooking oil, tinned fish, and tinned meat.

Upon receiving the substantial humanitarian gesture Cabinet Secretary, George Simataa expressed heartfelt gratitude to Qatar for their swift response to President Nangolo Mbumba’s appeal for international aid following the declaration of a State of Emergency on 22 May 2024.

“We are grateful that this assistance directly addresses the pressing needs of our communities during this difficult period,” said Simataa.

He said that Namibia is known for being one of the driest countries in sub-Saharan Africa and that the country experienced below-average rainfall during the last rainy season.

According to Simataa, the erratic rainfall patterns, exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon and climate change, have left the country particularly vulnerable, leading to a significant decline in crop yields, especially among subsistence farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture.

He said that the drought left dam levels in central Namibia at critically low levels which is severely affecting water availability.

“In response to the crisis, the Namibian government has launched a comprehensive drought relief programme, which includes food assistance, seed and horticulture support, livestock aid, and water provision to affected communities,” he said.

According to Simataa, the total cost of these interventions is estimated at N$1.307 billion.

“The Namibian government has allocated N$825 million towards these efforts but faces a funding gap of N$482 million. In these challenging times, the support from development partners and the international community is immensely encouraging,” he said.

Simataa said that the donation from Qatar is a crucial step in addressing the immediate needs of the food-insecure households identified across Namibia.

He called for further assistance from the international community to bridge the funding shortfall and enhance the effectiveness of relief measures.

“As we continue to navigate this drought, we call on the international community and development partners to join us in supporting our efforts. Any form of support aimed at mitigating the drought’s impact will be highly welcomed and coordinated through the Office of the Prime Minister,” he stressed.

Simataa’s appeal stresses the urgency of global solidarity and cooperation in the face of disasters that threaten food security and livelihoods.

He gave the assurance that the Namibian government will continue to prioritize humanitarian assistance, with the hope that further international aid will reinforce the country’s resilience against the ongoing crisis.

According to Simataa, the food parcels, weighing a total of 102 tons, will be distributed by the various regional councils to ensure this vital aid reaches the most vulnerable of people.

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