Months after government started rolling out the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, only 1 440 people have been fully vaccinated in the Kunene region, while 5 976 have received their first doses.
This represents 1.5% out of the Kunene population of 91 000 inhabitants. Kunene governor Marius Sheya announced this yesterday when he delivered his state of the region address.
As of 12 July 2021, the region has recorded 2 653 Covid-19 positive cases out of a total of 13 492 people tested. The region has recorded 52 deaths due to the pandemic. Sheya emphasised that vaccines provide countless benefits, even from the first dose.
“Over the next few weeks, we shall be intensifying and rolling out a deliberate and purposeful vaccination programme to get as many people as possible vaccinated,” he said. “This period will be recorded in our history as a period that not only tested our resolve, but also as a pandemic that has pulled us back and nullified the significant development progress we have made as it caused unimaginable damage to our economic as well as social structures, compelling us to reprioritise
and redirect resources to curb the spread of the virus.” He thanked the frontline workers for their immensely selfless and noble service. He added that government is relentlessly trying to strike a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods.
“As we are seeing the effects of the third wave causing havoc in our societies, we are confident that this prompt action will soon bring calm and peace back into our homes and communities,” he noted.
To strengthen prevention, control and containment efforts of the Covid-19 outbreak, he applauded government for providing equipment, medical items, material and staff recruitment to fight the pandemic and save the lives of the people of the region and the country at large.
On another disaster, Sheya reported that the region is in the grip of its seventh consecutive year of drought. The five constituencies of Opuwo Urban, Opuwo Rural, Epupa, Khorixas and Sesfontein have been severely affected.
“The devastating negative impact of climate change continues to weigh heavily on the vulnerable communities and farmers, leaving them with no choice but to migrate in search of grazing,” the governor stated.
Sheya reiterated council’s commitment to foster support during this time. In this regard, the regional council has constituted a task team on mitigating drought with key ministries and offices and different stakeholders such as the farmers’ union and traditional authorities who engage regularly to coordinate and mobilise resources, as well as to monitor and evaluate the drought situation.
He thanked government for having come to the rescue of the communities and their livestock since 2019 to date. To be specific, in 2019, the Namibian government provided N$21 million to the Kunene region for water provision.
Sixteen boreholes were drilled, 19 water points were installed, and 18 boreholes have been rehabilitated. Animal fodder and food parcels were also made available. Cabinet at its meeting of 9 March 2021 resolved to implement urgent measures for Kunene.
These include the introduction of food assistance for affected residents; water provision to needy communities; and introducing a livestock programme to serve as subsidy for the leasing of grazing and for the transportation of livestock to or from grazing fields.
Government also assisted farmers with livestock transportation and vaccination, and provided potable water to migrated farmers and their livestock.
“As we continue with this drought and its devastating effects, I urge all stakeholders to join hands, and at the same time assure regional inhabitants that there will be no human life lost due to drought, that there will be a timely distribution of relief items to affected communities, and that we will uphold high levels of accountability and the provision of feedback,” Sheya noted.
He was, however, concerned about learners who are migrating with their parents, and said the region is looking at the best solution for learning to continue.