Seasonal Monitoring in Namibia 2012/2013: Severe drought over the north and centre of the country

from European Commission - Joint Research Centre
Published on 14 Aug 2013 View Original

Severe drought in Namibia threatens thousands

The president of Namibia declared a state of emergency on 17 May 2013, when 300,000 people were found to be at risk from hunger as a result of severe drought sparked by the worst dry spell to hit the country in decades. This figure has since increased to 400,000.

Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world. It has typically two rainy seasons (September-November and February-April), and droughts are not uncommon. About half the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood, and most of these rely on subsistence farming and herding.

At the request of the EU Delegation in Namibia, the JRC prepared a report on agricultural drought conditions in Namibia. The report found that the 2012-2013 summer season (September-May) has been the second driest of the past 25 years, with very little rain since December. Satellite data shows than the rainfall deficit has had a strong negative impact on crop growth and pasture conditions, especially in the north and centre of the country. The report shows that crops (typically maize, sorghum and millet) are likely to have been affected and may have failed in some places, and pastures cannot support livestock to their normal extent.

The report was very well received by the EU Delegation and DG DEVCO, Namibia Desk, as it provides greatly needed information on the extent and severity of drought for discussion with the Government of Namibia on response planning.