Drought relief assistance in full swing

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Drought  relief assistance  in full swing

Lahja Nashuuta


The Namibian government has embarked upon a comprehensive nationwide relief food assistance programme in all the 14 regions from 1 October 2023 to 30 June 2024.

This is according to the recent Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security situation report released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform on drought humanitarian relief assistance.

The programme comprises foodrelief distribution, water provision and livestock support, and is targetting at least 579 000 Namibians (22% of the population) in both rural and urban areas, whose livelihoods have been affected by the drought and who do not have enough food or money to buy food, thereby faced with high levels of acute food insecurity.

The assessment report shows that most of the households’ last harvest was being supplemented with the market purchases depleted between September and November 2023.  

The said report further projects that a total of 695 000 people (26% of the population) will experience high levels of acute food insecurity between October 2023 and March 2024. The most affected regions are Kavango West, Kavango East, Omaheke, Ohangwena, //Kharas, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto and Kunene.

Furthermore, the grazing in these parts of the country is also reportedly depleted and inadequate to sustain people’s livestock. 

In addition to food assistance, the government has already started implementing the Livestock Support Programme in all the regions.

Most livestock conditions have been rated as poor in areas where prolonged dry spells were experienced in the previous season that affected grazing.

It was noted that at the time of the assessment, some livestock in the north-central and Zambezi areas were very weak and unable to stand, with mortalities reported because of hunger.

Meanwhile, regional councils have acknowledged receiving the drought relief food items, but complained that food allocated to the regions is limited, compared to the people in need of assistance.

Other issues hindering timely delivery and distribution of drought relief food to different constituencies includes issues related to transportation.

Meanwhile, the report has indicated that the level of
National Strategic Food Reserves (5NSFR) in various localities in the country are low, as the current stock is only 21% of the total holding capacity of 22 900 metric tonnes.