Cabinet Awaits Guidance

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila yesterday said Cabinet was awaiting direction from President Hifikepunye Pohamba before deciding on the course of action regarding the Mariental disaster that caused a lot of damage to property and farmland. The President yesterday undertook an urgent visit to Mariental to acquaint himself with the situation. Amathila on Tuesday addressed Cabinet on the floods in the southern town, the worst since the devastation of 1972. The country’s only pig farm lost 1 600 piglets that have drowned because of the floods, while 14 hectares of land accommodating 2 000 date trees have been completely washed away, among others. “The President left for Mariental today (yesterday); he will give us direction,” the Deputy PM stated. She also assured that in the meantime, people would continue to receive aid. Regarding the appeal for the area to be declared a disaster area, she said there were certain measures that need to be taken into consideration before the President declares an area a disaster area. On request from a governor, the President may declare a disaster area when the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and local governments, and Government assistance is needed. Disasters include such things as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, landslides, snowstorms and drought, among others. Meanwhile, Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) in partnership with the Namibia Red Cross opened a Mariental Disaster Relief Fund and pledged the first N$25 000 into the account to help the flood victims. The account number at the Standard bank Windhoek branch is 241735955. “The people in and around Mariental support us by banking with us, so we want to support them in this hour of need,” Managing Director Theo Mberirua said.