OPM rubbishes flood victims starvation claims

Martin Endjala

The Office of the Prime Minister says allegations that flood victims at relocation centres are starving due to a lack of food supply are untrue, as the food supply is delivered on a weekly basis with further distribution if needed.The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Rhingo Mutambo, said this in a media statement.

A local daily newspaper reported that flood victims are complaining of starvation at the relocation centres in the Northern part of Namibia. Flood victims in the Ehenye Relocation Centre in Oshakati, Oshana, specifically complained of starvation, having no mosquito nets and of being dumped in snake-infested areas.

Mutambo reiterated that these allegations posit that the government is not being responsive to the basic needs of the affected flood victims.

“The Office of the Prime Minister dispels such assertions as inaccurate and misleading information. It is thus regrettable that the newspaper chose to make no effort to confirm the facts with the relevant authorities before publishing their story”, Mutambo says.

Upon learning about the floods in the northern parts of Namibia, the government availed N$72 million towards flood relief efforts. This saw the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committees putting measures in place to ensure that the affected residents of Oshoopala Township have been relocated to Ehenye Relation Centre to move them out of harm’s way, with effect from 3rdFebruary 2023. A total of 237 people have been relocated so far.

Since the first day of the relocation Mutambo said, the region has been providing sufficient basic necessities including food items, and firewood to the relocated families. He says based on these records, he is dispelling the issue of starvation, since food is distributed to the affected families on a weekly basis and when the need arises.

“We are also certain that there is sufficient food in stock at the Regional Warehouse in Uukwangula Settlement, in Oshana Region to cater for flood victims”, he adds.

In the same vein, he indicated that all the relocation centres received boxes of fish on the 3rd of March, donated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources from Epalela Aquaculture Farm.

Mutambo added that a number of donations were received to ensure that the affected flood victims received basic necessities such as food items, tents, drinking water, hygiene items, and mosquito nets, while at the relocation centres.

The Office of the Prime Minister also availed 100 mosquito nets to the Oshana region, which were distributed at the Ehenye relocation centre, he said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashandi reiterated that allegations of starvation and lack of basic amenities at the relocation centres are contradicted by the “strong” records they are receiving from the regional government, as well as their own assessment and information from the Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee.

He however emphasized that they are not claiming to have met all the needs of the flood victims at the Ehenye or any other relocation centres in the North, but is reaffirming that the Office of the Prime Minister is in constant communication with all the government regional structures on the ground, and that they are happy that all items procured and donations received are not only accounted for, but have reached the affected flood victims in Ohangwena, Oshana and Omusati regions respectively.

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