Namibia: Food Insecurity Emergency Plan of Action Final Report Operation n° MDRNA009

Situation Report
Originally published
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Description of the disaster

During the cropping seasons of 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, Namibia experienced chronic food insecurity mostly affecting rural communities due to an abnormal low rainfall patterns between October 2014 and February 2015 (the active rainfall period for commonly grown crops), because of El Nino droughts. Further the south and western parts of the country experienced abnormally prolonged dry spells (no rain recorded) between January and February 2015. Although some areas in the north recorded good rainfall, it caused localized floods and heavy rainfall washed away planted seeds, causing poor germination. These rains started late and there was no significant follow up rainfall to support agricultural production.

In June 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Vulnerability Assessment in close consultation with the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management in the Office of the Prime Minister carried out a Post-harvest crop assessment and found that crop production in the country was estimated to be 46 per cent below average for the 2014/15 cropping season. The assessment results from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Vulnerability Assessment indicated that the country was experiencing the worst crop performance in eighty years, and such extreme poor crop harvests affected all dry land crop producing regions. Overall, the 2015 cereal output stood at 68,000 tones, a significant 43 percent decline from the near-average 2014 output.

The assessment indicated that an estimated number of 370,316 people (16 per cent of the total population) were food insecure and needed urgent food support, while a total number of 578,480 people were affected by the drought and would need livelihood protection deficit support until the next harvest in April 2016. Furthermore, there was an overall significant reduction in food and water availability, access and utilization due to adverse effects of drought. As a result, a number of households had reduced their number of meals consumed to one meal per day. The situation did not improve in the 2015/16 cropping season. The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) report of August 2015 forecasted that most of the southern states of continental Southern African Development Community (SADC) were likely to receive below-normal rainfall for the periods of October to December 2015 and January to March 2016 (maize and millet sowing and growing period). The report further stated that Namibia would most likely receive below normal rainfall in the 2015/16 cropping season. This resulted in continued insufficient crop yields and limited water for people and livestock.

Based on its humanitarian principles, Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) with the technical support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), launched an Appeal to assist the most affected people to meet their basic food and non-food needs.

The Emergency Appeal sought CHF 950,205 to enable the IFRC to support the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) to reach 11,500 (3,200 households) drought affected people with a focus on interventions on the sectors of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, food security, nutrition and livelihoods for seven months.

The situation did not improve, and drought was also declared a national disaster by the Namibian government in June 2016. Therefore, National Society revised its Operation Strategy and proposed to implement a Cash Transfer Program for targeted households in Kunene region. Cash Transfer Program was designed to target 1,100 Households for a period of five (5) months starting January to May 2017.