Food on its way to Ruacana areaBy: JAN POOLMAN
URGENT steps are being taken by the Office of the Prime Minister to come to the rescue of about 20 000 people in the Ruacana Constituency who are going hungry.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula has instructed the Emergency Management Unit (EMU) to give attention to the problem immediately.
This follows a front-page report by The Namibian yesterday that thousands of people in the Ruacana Constituency of the Omusati Region are facing starvation following a poor mahangu and maize harvest because of poor rains.
It is expected the drought in this area will continue, as below-average rain is predicted for the coming rainy season. This will cause further distress for the communities in the affected areas.
The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum said the rain outlook is not good for the western parts of the country, which include the Kunene Region and the Ruacana Constituency.
About two months ago, the government declared the Kunene Region drought stricken and allocated N$32 million for drought aid, including food relief.
“This is where the problem came in. Ruacana is part of the Omusati Region, but in terms of rainfall it falls within the Kunene Region rainfall pattern. This brought some confusion and food was only distributed in the area of Opuwo,” Angula said yesterday.
The Omusati Region’s emergency food supplies have run out and urgent aid is needed to come to the rescue of the estimated 20 000 residents, mostly of the nomadic Ovazemba and the Ovahimba tribes.
“I gave instruction that some of the food at Opuwo should be diverted to the Ruacana Constituency. There is sufficient drought relief food to be distributed for those people,” Angula said.
The most affected villages are Ombuumbuu, Otjovanatje, Okazantu, Okamboola, Otjekwa, Otjorute, Omakange, Onamatanga, Volwater, Dreko, Okakango, Omuhamas, Okomizema, Otjetekwa Oromauwa and Ohanyuna.
Angula said there should be close contact between the Kunene and Omusati regional councils to ensure that the problem at Ruacana is solved as soon as possible.
“But you know how the bureaucracy of government works. The food has now to be transported to the Ruacana Constituency and all paper work has to be in place. So it might take some days,” said Angula.
The 20 000 people facing starvation in the Ruacana Constituency bring to 40 000 the number of people in need of food assistance in the Omusati and Kunene regions.