Following a prolonged dry period during the 2012/13 cropping season (November-June), Namibia's main cereal crop output for 2013 is expected to suffer a severe decline. In some parts, the cumulative rains between January and March were approximately one-third of the average and a 50 per cent below average cereal production is expected. Livestock conditions are also deteriorating due to lack of water. (FAO, 15 Apr 2013)
On 17 May, the President declared an emergency situation in the country as a result of drought and appealed to the international community for assistance (Govt of Namibia, 17 May 2013). Over 300,000 people were classified as food insecure and over 4,000 livestock had died (New Era, 20 May 2013).
On 28 Jun, IFRC launched an emergency appeal of 1,215,010 Swiss francs (1,284,959 US dollars) to assist to assist 55,000 people in four northern regions (Kavango, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kunene) severely affected by the drought.
The National Drought Emergency Response Plan (July 2013 - March 2014), developed by the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management with inputs from the relevant government line ministries, the Namibia UN Country Team and CSOs, was shared with the stakeholders on 15 Aug and targeted 463,581 food-insecure people. (UNICEF, 22 Aug 2013)
In 2014, pasture and livestock conditions improved in most parts of the country. However, in the northwestern region of Kuene water deficits continued to negatively impact on pasture development. (FAO, 19 May 2014)
According to annual vulnerability assessments for 2014/15, crop production had improved significantly, which resulted in a significant reduction of vulnerable people. The total population at risk was estimated at 577,936 people of whom about 117,662 were facing survival deficits. (Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, 22 Jul 2014).
Drought-ravaged villagers on the outskirts of Opuwo, whose crops failed for lack of rain have expressed their utmost appreciation over the provision of hot soup through a soup kitchen started two weeks ago by the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS).
NRCS initiated the drought relief programme, that includes food rations of maize meal, beans, fish and cooking oil fortified with vitamins, to assist villagers affected by the drought.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
•Cereal production in 2015 decreased sharply due to an extended period of dry weather
•Imports of maize forecast to increase in 2015/16 to compensate for the lower domestic output
•Reduced cereal production and poor livestock conditions cause an increase in number of people in need of food assistance in 2015. This follows generally improved conditions in 2014
Sharp drop in 2015 cereal production
by New Era Staff Reporter
RUACANA – Following low rainfall received this year, Ruacana Constituency councillor Absta Iipinge says many people have started flocking to his office in search for drought relief food after their crops failed.
Iipinge says about 28 000 people from Ruacana Constituency in the Omusati Region are in dire need of food aid because their crops withered due to erratic rains.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Generally poor rains since December 2014 have lowered production prospects for 2015 cereal crop
Imports of maize declined in 2014/15, reflecting a recovery in 2014 cereal output from previous year’s drought-reduced level
Food security conditions expected to be stressed in some areas in 2015, due to anticipated decrease in cereal production. This follows generally improved conditions in 2014
WINDHOEK – The Federal Government of Nigeria last week donated 300 tonnes of rice, 700 tonnes of maize and three tonnes of fish fillets to Namibia as part of a food consignment to help drought-stricken families.
Namibia has yet to make an official appeal for drought assistance to the international donor community though it could yet face a devastating drought because of erratic rains in the current rainy season, which would end in April.
RUNDU – Mahangu and maize fields in the Kavango West region are a sore sight for the eye. The majority of the subsistence farming crop fields along the Rundu – Nkurenkuru road sport underdeveloped and wilted maize and mahangu plants, while some are totally barren. Farmers are devastated by the outcome as the fields that at first had good germination later totally dried up causing plants to wilt to the point that no grain was developed at all due to the severe drought impacts.
WINDHOEK – The price of lucern has gone through the roof as Namibian farmers are queuing up countrywide in search of fodder for their animals with the drought of 2015 now sinking its teeth firmly into the livestock industry.
ONGELA – Anna Tukwafa Shonghela, Namibia Conservation Agriculture Project (NCAP) Coordinator, has only been working in this capacity for one year, but she is a formidable woman who knows more about the inhabitants and the environment than most people.
WINDHOEK – Some communal farmers in Kunene are likely to lose animals they solely depend on for their livelihoods, as the drought takes its toll on livestock in some parts of the region.
Kunene is one of the regions worst affected by the drought sweeping across the country since late 2011 and that has left many animals dead due to lack of grazing and insufficient water.
KATIMA MULILO – The completion of the N$35 million Katima Mulilo/Ngoma water pipeline in the Zambezi Region will bring relief for tens of thousands of people.
This was the view of the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, during a meeting held last Friday with contractors building the pipeline.
The meeting was called to assess the progress of the project.
This Emergency Appeal was launched on 28 June 2013 for CHF 1,390,816 to support the Namibia Red Cross Society`s response towards 55,000 beneficiaries (11,000 households) in four northern regions (Kavango, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kunene) severely affected by drought for 12 months.
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 150,000 was allocated from the International Federation’s DREF to support the National Society in its initial response.
Reduced crop harvest by 20-50%
Reduced agricultural Labour employment Opportunities by 40-65%
Limited draft power owing to poor livestock conditions(Oxen)
Less resilient households due the cumulative impact of floods and drought over the years.
Temporary relocation of livestock
Increased sale of livestock
Increased migration by young people in search of labor in urban areas and mines.
Snapshot 13-19 August
Yemen: The 9 August Al Jawf ceasefire has been broken. Access to people affected by the conflict in Al Jawf is extremely limited due to persistent insecurity, and it is very difficult to obtain information. Almost 3,000 people have died in violence since the National Dialogue Conference took place on 25 January.
Snapshot 30 July–5 August
OPt: As a 72-hour truce begins, 1,179 civilians have been reported killed since Operation Protective Edge started. A third of the population of the Gaza Strip – 485,000 people – have been displaced, an increase of 270,000 since last week. Most IDPs are staying in schools, which are severely overcrowded. The health system is overwhelmed.
Snapshot 16–22 July
oPT: 583 have been reported killed and over 100,000 displaced since Operation Protective Edge began on 8 July. There are urgent needs for essential drugs, shelter, water, and food assistance in the Gaza Strip, requiring greater humanitarian space.
Regional Update (updated 15th of July 2014)
By Loide Jason
OMAGALANGA – Although farmers in the north last year survived on government drought relief as their main source of food because of recurring droughts, this year some farmers have cause to celebrate good harvests.
One of them is Timoteus Paulus a farmer from Omagalanga Village in Oshikuku Constituency, Omusati Region. He is over the moon with his good mahangu harvest this year compared to the previous three years’ low returns.
Pakistan: Water, sanitation, and health services are urgent needs among the 780,000 registered displaced from North Waziristan (government figures). The data is being cleaned to check for duplication.
Iraq: Access to areas within the governorates of Anbar, Babylon, Diyala, Salah al Din, Kirkuk, and Ninevah remains difficult due to ongoing violence clashes, disruption of communication and transportation routes, and a widespread shortage of fuel.
WINDHOEK – Last year’s debilitating drought may have left its scars on the Namibian agricultural landscape, but millers have bounced back strongly to post impressive production results.
This is according to the Managing Director of Namib Mills, Ian Collard, on the eve of the milling season that will start at the end of June.
Namibian white maize producers exceeded all expectations with this year’s vastly improved total expected harvest in the so-called Maize Triangle and other productions areas, which ends in July.
Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone: The Ebola outbreak that started at the beginning of 2014 has resurged, with more than 635 cases recorded, including 399 deaths, as of 23 June. WHO is urging a wider, inter-country response to the subregional crisis.
South Sudan: SAM was found to be at 6% from a screening of 500,000 children. In Bentiu UN base, the under-five mortality rate has passed the emergency threshold. 2,300 cases of cholera have been reported.