Windhoek — The Namibian fishing industry has united in providing relief aid support to the people of Mozambique after that country recently experienced floods affecting over 1.4 million people. More than 20 fishing companies donated in excess of 38 tonnes of fish and fish products with a combined value of over N$500 000, excluding logistical expenses.
It is reported that the recent floods in Mozambique affected more than 1.4 million people, with over 140 000 left homeless and 100 000 hectares of agricultural land ruined. International media quoted the International Red Cross as saying it required an estimated US$700 000 to avert a health, social and humanitarian crisis in that country. The donation is to be shipped to Mozambique shortly.
The fishing industry's donation is a response to the recent request of support from the Office of the Prime Minister's Emergency Response Unit, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Receiving the donation on behalf of the Namibian Government in Walvis Bay last week, Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau said the people of Namibia and Mozambique share a long and common history stemming from the days of the two countries' joint endeavours towards self-determination, which were further cemented after independence through various bilateral agreements on technical co-operation including co-operation in the fishing industries.
"As part of the international community we are duty-bound, not only by our foreign policies but also by our spirit of humanity to assist our brothers and sisters to avert possible humanitarian crises on their doorsteps. This we have taken up in various forms over the past years, including the despatch of humanitarian and military aid to crisis-stricken countries, not only on the African continent but also as far afield as Asia," Esau said.
Esau said that the humanitarian crisis in Mozambique and in other parts of the world should especially serve as a wake-up call to those in the natural resources sectors such as fishing, that such crisis can befall any country, at any time, adding that it is important that resources are harvested sustainably to guarantee benefits to future generations as well as to benefit current generations through job creation, knowledge transfer and ownership of the resources. "In this regard, it is imperative that the industry continuously endeavour to find best-in-class practices through research and development initiatives to ensure that we can, in the event of such eventualities, come to the rescue of not only our own people, but also those throughout the world, who may need our assistance," said Esau.
Speaking at the same occasion, the acting chairperson of the Midwater Trawling Association and CEO of Namsov, Jerome Mouton, said the "element of effective social investment may, in the past, have been an afterthought for many in the industry, but I can confidently state that the current school of thought on this subject has undergone a significant paradigm shift and I am sure that the ministry and the people of Namibia will see the fruits of this thinking as it works towards the greater socio-economic development of our people."
"As the world moves towards becoming one big global village, we remain inter-dependent on each other as our fortunes and sometimes misfortunes become inter-linked. And when the latter happens, the blessings come in the giving. As a country, we know all too well the difference the support of the international community can make in the hour of need and it is therefore against this background that we as the fishing sector, did not hesitate for a second when the call was made to assist the people of Mozambique during these trying times," said Matti Amukwa, the chairperson of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations.