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No deaths due to drought

There has been no fatalities reported countrywide as a result of the drought, Prime Minister Hage Geingob told Parliament this week.
According to the Prime Minister, no single person has died due to lack of rain but added that many people suffer from malnutrition and as a result 28 Angolan nationals were reported to have died in the Ohangwena region. The Governor of Ohangwena has however noted that these are old cases and involved Angolans who resided in Namibia at the time of their deaths. The Prime Minister also categoricaly made it clear that there is a difference between malnourishment and hunger caused by poverty, and hunger that is caused as a result of a lack of rain and subsequently, staple. “Let me state that as of now, no person has died as a result of drought. Yes malnourishment is there since those citizens who are poor are unable to have a balanced diet. It is for this reason that we decided to add relish to the drought relief food as this was not done before,” he said. He added that those who perished in the Ohangwena region died as a result of malnutrition because they had come to seek drought relief assistance in Namibia at a very late stage. It is reported that atleast 559,000 people suffer from food insecurity. This is aproximately 25% of the population. A survey conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP), called the Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) indicated the figure of 559,000 malnourished people. The objective of the survey was to evaluate the current drought conditions in various sectors including crop and livestock production, water quality and access, health and nutrition, markets and trade conditions as well as the general food security conditions at household level. Earlier this year, President Pohamba declared a state of emergency due to drought and said that no Namibian should lose his or her life due to drought. The office of the Prime Minister was then tasked to mobilise and distribute food to drought affected areas. According to the Prime Minister, many stakeholders such as the Red Cross Society, Council of Churches and many individuals have so far made food and money contributions. Reporting on the progress of drought relief in Parliament earlier this week, the Prime Minister said all regions have made progress in distributing drought food to affected areas.He added that although the distribution process was still facing challenges, these challenges will be tackled soon. One of the regions, Omusati, is currently facing a shortage of water. According to the Governor, Sophia Shaningwa, the level of water flow from Angola have drastically reduced.

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