PARCELS prepared by relatives and friends of Namibian students currently studying in Cuba will leave Namibia for Havana tomorrow.
This is according to a press release issued by executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe yesterday.
Nangombe said the Ministry of Health and Social Services secured a purchase order with a cargo operator last Wednesday, and the parcels will be transported to Havana via Johannesburg.
Nangombe told The Namibian the ministry made a purchase order of just over N$600 000.
"This follows the non-materialisation of the first attempt to deliver the parcels at the beginning of August 2020. The cargo, according to the service provider, is scheduled to arrive in Cuba on 24 September 2020," he said.
Nangombe said the main challenge in executing the delivery of the cargo has been the lack of flights due to the suspension of commercial flights and the closure of airspaces by several governments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Moreover, the demand for international cargo services has outstripped supply due to increased demand to deliver Covid-19-related supplies around the world," Nangombe said.
The approximately 250 students, enrolled at different tertiary institutions in Cuba, have been struggling to buy basic cosmetics and other necessities due to a lockdown in Cuba since mid-March.
Parcels were prepared for them in June already.
Some of the students earlier this week said they have had to ration their use of necessities such as toothpaste, shampoo and soap.
In some instances they have bought items from their South African counterparts who have received several packages of essential goods from their home country.
"The South African students received three parcels from home. So at some point they also sold some things, or if you had some friends, they would give you items just to help you out," one of the students, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. The students have been desperately awaiting the arrival of their parcels as they say it was not only filled with food and cosmetics, but also with important items such as bank cards and medicine.
"That is like our oxygen . . . they are not just bags," one of the students said.