New Era (Windhoek)

30 January 2014

Namibia: 90 000 in Dire Need of Food Aid

Ongwediva — Over 90 000 people in the Ohangwena Region are in dire need of drought relief food, due to the failure of rains, which continues to affect the northern regions.

Ohangwena Chief Regional Officer, Daniel Kashikola says the number of those who need monthly food aid keeps on skyrocketing. This disconcerting revelation comes amidst a recent discovery of hundreds of rat-infested bags of maize meal meant for distribution to drought victims in a storeroom in the village of Ohakafiya. The individual said to be responsible for the distribution of the maize in the village is caretaker senior headman of the village, Amos Hamunyela. Hamunyela allegedly refused to distribute the food because he suspected the maize meal was contaminated with poison. It was later discovered that his own household had consumed at least four 10kg bags of the 200-bag consignment given to him for distribution.

"The regional council is really challenged by the number of people coming to the offices in need of food. We have more people in need of food than the food we have available. Sometimes you can go to a distribution centre with fifty bags to hand out and you will be surprised to discover that the people in need are over a hundred," said Kashikola. He further said at this point there is very little the regional council can do to remedy the situation, however a committee is in place to identify the families in need of drought relief food. "Some people are better off than others although they also do need food relief, but we ask them to be patient and let others who are more affected to benefit. The headmen of villages should know the people in their regions who are in a more desperate situation.

I can tell you that the bags of maize meal discovered at the homestead of Hamunyela did not come from our offices," he said. "Hamunyela is known to us, he is always talked about in the village but I can tell you that food did not belong to our office it is from the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority. It is they who did not follow procedures in place regarding the distribution. The proper channels are that whoever - individuals, organisations, or business members of our Namibian community, when making donations they go through to the Office of the Prime Minister, which then designate these donations to the regions in need," explained Kashikola.

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