Stakeholders intervene as drought in Erongo takes its toll

The Erongo Regional Council through the office of the Governor received a total of N$165 000 for the drought relief program from various sponsors. The money will be used to buy food for the cattle of drought stricken farmers in Erongo region. The handover took place at the office of the Governor on 19 October.

The drought situation in Namibia have affected many, but mostly subsistence farmers in Erongo region especially in areas of Omatjete, Okongwe, Otjimbingwe, Utuseb and Uis. According to the Chief Regional Officer Mrs Natalia /Gôagoses, the office of the Governor and the Erongo Regional Office through area visits and consultations with various affected communities, traditional leaders and regional councillors to acquaint themselves with the prevailing draught situations and during the visit they had observed with dismay that the condition especially in areas of Otjimbingwe, Daures and Walvis Bay Rural constituencies was deplorable and had resulted in wilting of trees and grass, succumbing of livestock from hunger and thirst, diminishing of available grazing land for livestock, drastically deteriorating livestock conditions, poor crop harvesting, existence of vast discrepancies in availability of food at household levels, lack of enough water where grazing is adequate and no grazing at all in most areas.
Earlier this year the Erongo Regional Council availed a total of N$1.3 million to assist farmers living in the drought affected areas and with this programme the Erongo Regional Council assisted 700 farmers in Spitzkoppe, 700 herds of cattle in Otjimbingwe, 500 herds of cattle at Uis, in Okambahe they assisted 600 herd of cattle, Omatjete 1500 herds of cattle and 200 herds of cattle in Utuseb, making them 4200 herds of cattle.
/Gôagoses said that they realised that the assistance was not going to be sustainable and as a result the Governor’s office reached out for help and this is why Bannerman Resources, Erongo Red and Rössing Uranium came on board to assist the Erongo Regional Council in fighting the battle against drought in these areas.
Bannerman Resources sponsored an amount of N$15 000, Erongo Red sponsored N$50 000, Rös-sing Uranium sponsored an amount of N$100 000 and Mr Heinrich from Karibib assisted with pellets for goats to the value of N$60 000 towards the drought relieve project. “We recognise that the impact on the communities in our region and their livelihoods are severe. This is of great concern to Rössing Uranium. Natural disasters like the current drought impact on agricultural output and food security at a household level and therefore we wish to support Government in its ongoing Harambee activities around providing humanitarian assistance through ongoing food distribution to affected households” said the Operations General Manager of Rössing Uranium Mr Martin Tjipita.
The Governor of Erongo Region Mr Cleophas Mutjavikua said the drought situation in the region is not good and the region is experiencing some serious water shortage “apart from the drought, the water situation is worsened by elephants which shares drinking water with humans, as there are a lot of elephants pushing through the areas of Omatjete and Okongwe and the situation is very dire. We will try to find an amicable solution for these two areas as soon as possible.”
Mutjavikua further said his office is experiencing a lot of challenges with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism because they are not bringing their part in the issue of elephants and he said the elephants are terrorising people in these areas.
“As a way out of this dire situation, I am having an agreement with the Regional Governor of Omaheke so that the farmers in Erongo who are willing to take their animals to Omaheke can do so. We identified some villages in Otjinene area where evacuation can take place and that is what we already conveyed to the farmers so that they can take their animals to find grass and water and we will be able to provide transport for those that are not able to transport their own animals” Mutjavikua emphasised. Mutjavikua calls on all institutions in Namibia to take the drought situation in Namibia seriously and said drought is a situation which only comes once in a while and it is not here to stay. He added that he appreciates ordinary farmers who helped the farmers with water and grazing during this disastrous year.

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