Donatus: Urban starvation  a reality

Home National Donatus: Urban starvation  a reality
Donatus: Urban starvation  a reality

SWAKOPMUND – Urban families are increasingly finding themselves between rocks and hard places, grappling with a dire shortage of food supplies.

This situation has been exacerbated by the soaring unemployment levels and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This dire picture was painted by Walvis Bay rural constituency councillor Florian Donatus. 

So bad are things that Donatus’ office
deals daily with desperate and vulnerable families in dire need of food. 

Donatus said this during a consultation with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and the regional political leadership in Swakopmund. 

It was Donatus’ clarion call to the Premier that to combat urban starvation, drought relief should be extended to those residing in informal settlements within urban areas as well. 

“Our office is frequented by people who
are very hungry to the extent that we are
giving up our own salaries to these people to feed them. The situation is sometimes
so severe that one doesn’t even want to go to the office, as we do not want to disappoint our people. However, the reality is that if
we don’t give them at least a bag of maize, they won’t have anything to eat,” Donatus

Urban hunger, he said, was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, as many residents found themselves destitute after losing their jobs and businesses.

He implored the Prime Minister to re-evaluate the situation and seek comprehensive solutions to support vulnerable urban populations. 

“Please re-evaluate the situation on how we are going to accommodate those vulnerable people. Rural areas are sorted, and I am happy that they are catered for, but the real concern now is those struggling in the urban setup,” the energetic politician said. 

Responding, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Cabinet has already resolved to assist those in urban areas through various programmes, apart from drought relief. 

“The drought relief gets a budget that only covers a period between two harvests, after which we get a budget only if the harvest was poor. We also look at other types of interventions for towns such as Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, which also face food shortages,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said. 

She further emphasised the necessity for additional interventions like backyard gardening to alleviate food shortages in urban areas, along with the need for local authorities and regional councils to drive local economic growth and job creation. 

“Our strategies must also be homegrown, spearheaded by our people because that is the only way we are going to ensure that growth translates into improved welfare conditions. Besides that, if we cannot promote the development of local entrepreneurs; if we cannot promote job creation, and if we cannot ensure that there is a living wage, then it means you have to resort to donations for basic shelter and job creation. It is not only important that they earn their own income; it is also important for their dignity,” the former finance minister said.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added the food bank programme can be used to provide a short-term solution, but food security can also be promoted by creating backyard gardens in urban areas.