Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein has said the devastating drought that has gripped the Kunene region as well as some parts of Erongo has touched the country at large.
“‘An injury to one is an injury to all’, therefore, the drought situation affecting the people as well as livestock in the Erongo and Kunene regions has touched us all,” Schlettwein said.
He said this in parliament on Thursday in a statement read on his behalf by his deputy Anna Shiweda, while contributing to an urgent motion tabled in the National Assembly by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP Vipua Muharukua calling on government to assess the drought situation in the affected areas.
The majority of parliamentarians accepted the invitation, noting that indeed Kunene was a special case. MPs have since agreed to assess the impact of drought, especially in Kunene, in order to accelerate the government’s response to assist the affected communities.
While most parts of the country have recorded good rainfall during the past two rainy seasons, the Kunene region and parts of the Erongo, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions are experiencing severe drought, which could lead to food insecurity.
Schlettwein said so far, government mobilised urgent short-term assistance and relief to the people of Kunene in a form of food parcels and fodder for the livestock.
However, he said, the country needs a long-lasting solution to address the effects of drought and climate change. “There is no long-term solution without sustainable water provision and other resources. There is, therefore, need to allocate more resources to the sector,” he said.
He said the agricultural ministry has considered and presented various programmes and projects to treasury to mitigate the effects of drought in all regions of the country.
“Government is well ceased with the drought situation in Kunene region and what is urgently required is implementation,” Schlettwein said, adding that the proposed parliamentary trip to the Kunene region is welcomed but their specific purpose is not articulated to be able to address the crisis.