Namibia: Drought (MDRNA008) Final report


Appeal history:

  • 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.

  • Operations update n° 1 and n° 2 were published on 15 July and 31 July 2013 respectively.

  • A Revised Emergency Appeal was published to include the addition of cash transfer element of NAD 300 (approximately CHF 28) a month, targeting 2,000 households for six months.

  • A six-month update was issued on 28 February 2014.

Overall the appeal targeted 55,000 people and has reached 156,075 beneficiaries (31,215 households).

Summary: A national state of emergency was declared by the Government of Namibia on 17 May, 2013 requesting for international assistance for the estimated 331,000 people in rural communities classified as food insecure representing 14 percent of the total population of Namibia. The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) subsequently launched an appeal to support the government call for emergency assistance and to provide assistance in four of the worst affected regions. Through the response operation, NRCS provided delivered assistance in water and sanitation, food security, nutrition and livelihoods sectors.

During the reporting period, NRCS has undertaken some significant steps in supporting the worst affected populations, by forging partnerships, co-ordination, assessments and direct programme delivery. An in-depth needs assessment of water sanitation and hygiene was undertaken by the WASH cluster’s Rapid Assessment Team in four regions and a detailed household food security needs assessment was completed with the support of a British Red Cross Household Economic Security (HES) analyst. This provided important information and guidance on designing a needs-based response.

Financial situation: The appeal raised CHF 1,109,369 of which 97% was spent. The remaining balance will be taken to the regional disaster management project and will be used to address one of the main issues identified as part of the food security assessment conducted in July 2014 supporting farmers with training and agricultural input to ensure increased food production.

Due to a cholera outbreak in Kunene, a response was required and additional resources were allocated to prevent loss of lives. The variances between budget and expenditure on the budget line for construction materials was due to the construction of soup kitchens for which only operational aspects were budgeted but not construction activities. An insufficient amount was budgeted for travel, distribution & monitoring, and transport & vehicle costs, as well as the procurement of seeds and plants. This caused variances on these budget lines. The transportation of seed and other inputs was budgeted assuming that these items would be procured locally, which was not feasible. The Namibian Red Cross Society had to do central procurement, which resulted in high transportation costs. Furthermore, cash disbursements were started in October 2013 based on the Household Economic Security Assessment conducted in July 2013 and as such, were not budgeted for at the launch of the Emergency Appeal. These cash distributions were funded by ECHO as part of their contribution to the appeal. In addition, there is variance on the financial charges budget line due to foreign exchange losses that were higher than foreseen. In July 2014, a Food Security Assessment was done in Kunene by an external consultant.

Lesson learnt: In July 2014, a Food Security Assessment was done in Kunene by an external consultant with the following objectives:

  • To assess the food and nutrition security, livelihoods, coping mechanisms and underlying vulnerabilities of different population groups in Kunene and identify potential risks associated with the failure of the rains;
  • To support development of a contingency plan and long-term food and nutrition security strategic plan;
  • To assess the capacity of Namibia Red Cross Society in implementation of the proposed food and nutrition security;
  • To evaluate previous interventions impact.

The conclusions of the study on the impact of the drought operation implemented by Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) was that while all households in the affected areas received government led food assistance, a comparison of NRCS beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries indicated total incomes, dietary diversity and Coping Strategy Index indicators were relatively better for Namibia Red Cross Society beneficiaries. This is an indication of a positive project outcome by the NRCS intervention. Recommendations formulated by the external assessment team included the need for a continuation of interventions as they were still relevant and appropriate given the food deficits faced by households. However, they found that Namibia Red Cross Society needs to develop a clear strategy on graduation from emergency phase to recovery and development with the overall aim of ensuring resilience among households to the recurring hazard of drought and other common shocks. The national society itself concluded at the end of the operation that there is need to invest in building local staff capacity in disaster response so that they will be able to provide rapid, timely response to emergencies leading to reduced delays associated with recruitment of international staff/delegates.

The national society appreciates the support of both local and international partners and the contributions made to the Emergency Appeal. Contributions were received from the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross (from Canadian Government), Japanese Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross (from Netherlands Red Cross Silent Emergency Fund), Swedish Red Cross, (from Swedish Government), Luxembourg Government, European Commission – DG ECHO, Red Cross of Monaco, USAID, UNICEF and local businesses.