Red Cross pleads for drought funding

Windhoek

The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) is struggling to raise N$13.4 million to give support to 11 500 vulnerable people as it only managed to raise 15 percent of the funding required and will only be able to provide for 1 200 people.

Fifteen percent of N$13.4 million equals N$2 million and the 1 200 beneficiaries translates into 33 percent of the targeted 3 600 affected people. Chairperson of NRCS Advocate Bience Gawanas said following the recent drought assessment done by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, it is estimated 729 134 people are food insecure and more than 595 839 need immediate drought relief assistance.



“Beneficiaries are receiving warm meals six days a week at soup kitchens in Kunene and Kavango regions. The current drought situation has reduced the food security intake to one meal per day, while others have to sleep hungry at most times,” said Advocate Gawanas. First National Bank through the FNB Foundation responded to the drought situation with a donation of N$100 000.

“We have over the past months witnessed an increasing number of people in need of food at our soup kitchens, while some of the beneficiaries – especially the Kunene Region – abandoned their homesteads to go live in dire conditions around the town of Opuwo, begging for food from good Samaritans,” she elaborated.

“We need to change and take a longer view and to more effectively use our collective resources if we are to truly strengthen resilience and break the cycle of food insecurity in Namibia, as the humanitarian needs that are already high are continuing to grow, as will the cost of sustaining the response,” said Adv Gawanas, who is also the special advisor to the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. She said the situation needs to be tackled by mobilising the power of solidarity through the involvement of the local community, individuals and businesspeople. “We are calling for unity and coordinated actions of various stakeholders to bring about change at a scale that is needed and thus create a country where people are safer, healthier and can thrive, even in the face of adversity.”

She said government and local organisations, such as NRCS, are doing their part, but they cannot make successful strides if they do not get more support from local organisations.”

“Namibians, we must lessen our dependency on foreign aid and start making personal contributions towards the country’s development efforts and poverty eradication. The drought is a Namibian problem that is supposed to be solved by Namibians,” she further said.

Manager of corporate social investment at FNB Rivonia Kahivere said the institution realised the task is momentous and thus jumped at the chance to help. “We have not yet been involved to assist NRCS in reaching their targets and objectives, but every bit helps and no donation or sponsorship is too small,” she said.

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