Drought in Kunene persists

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-Despite the good rains experienced this year in most parts of the country Kunene has received minimal rainfall, which made no significant impact on the livelihood of communities and livestock in the region.

The Governor of Kunene, Angelika Muharukua, said drought in the region is persisting and residents still depend on drought relief food for survival because their granaries are empty.
But the governor said the challenge is that drought relief food takes time to reach people and while waiting they languish in hunger.

She said while other regions reported good rains, only some parts of Kunene received minimal rains, leaving the rest of the region very dry.

“Nothing has changed, there was no rain in Kunene.  You should come and see for yourself how people are suffering,” she said.

In the areas which received minimal rain, it was not sufficient to uplift people’s livelihoods.
In addition, the community continues to lose livestock which is the source of income and food for most of the community.

Muharukua feels the government should drill boreholes to enable the community to set up backyard gardens to sustain themselves during the persistent drought.

She said the current small gardens in the region are not sufficient to sustain families.
“Only small gardens can help us – we need boreholes to share with our livestock,” said Muharukua.

Equally, the governor urged the government to have a feasibility study done on the quantity of spring water available in the region.

She said once the region is aware of how much water is available in the springs it will direct the region to extract water sufficient for its inhabitants.
“We have spring water, but we do not know how much water is available in the springs,” said Muharukua.

In her state of the region address last year, Muharukua said the region was hit by drought for seven consecutive years with more than 41 000 beneficiaries benefiting from drought relief food.

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