Namibia

Press conference statement by his Excellency Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia on the emergency situation caused by drought in the country

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On 29 March 2011, I declared an emergency situation as a result of floods in the north and north eastern parts of our country. This year, our country is, once again, experiencing the wrath of Mother Nature in the form of devastating drought. Namibia has been badly affected by drought due to poor rains.

Unlike the floods, the drought situation is affecting the whole country. My Government is concerned about the destructive impact of the drought because by its nature, it is affecting both human and livestock. The drought has already devastated many communities. In addition, this natural disaster has also negatively affected economic activities in our country.

In an effort to appreciate the prevailing situation in the country, a comprehensive inter-agency Emergency Food Security Assessment was conducted throughout the country. Some of the findings are as follows: The harvest Prospect for 2012/2013 indicates extremely below average production as drought conditions intensify. Crop production outlook in crop production regions under rain fed conditions indicated a massive reduction in maize production. In the communal crop – producing regions, this is expected to decrease by 48% below average. The production outlook for pearl millet is expected to decrease by 41% compared to the last season.

The assessment also revealed that household food security in most regions is tightening as hunger season has reached its peak.

Most households have depleted their food stocks in September last year and mainly dependent on market for food access.

Poor grazing conditions are threatening the livestock in the country as drought conditions strengthen. Indeed, a considerable number of large and small stock have already died as a result of drought. In most cases, the condition of livestock is already poor. There is, therefore, an urgent need to sell some livestock in order to prevent further losses.

You will further recall that floods have destroyed crops in the north eastern part of our country. Communal crop farmers were taken by surprise due to the fact that the floods came earlier than expected.

I have no doubt you are now fully aware of what has been reported in both print and electronic media. Our people are facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions as a result of the devastating drought. As a result, the survival of a large percentage of our population is under serious threat.

I and my Cabinet colleagues have discussed the prevailing situation in depth and have consulted with various experts and other stakeholders.

After these consultations, I have come to the conclusion, together with my cabinet colleagues, that I declare an emergency situation in the country as a result of drought. Thus, the necessary interventions must be put into operation to face this emergency.