Angola: 10,000 Flee to Namibia Due to Drought

More than 10,000 Angolans have taken refuge in Namibia due to the drought, an official said Wednesday.

Angola shares a 1,100km border with Namibia in the provinces of Cunene, Namibe and Cuando Cubango.

The border is porous and allows easy illegal crossings.

According to the Namibian Ambassador to Angola, Patrick Nandago, the refugees are from Huíla, Cunene, Namibe and Cuando Cubango provinces.

Angolans living in the border provinces with Namibia are experiencing food and water shortages due to persistent drought with malnutrition widespread among children.

Mr Nandago added that the number of citizens seeking refuge in his country increases daily.

The diplomat also defended the reopening of the common border with Angola, which was closed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He assured Namibians that authorities are prepared to deal with any issue that may arise.

Many Angolan children who live along the border attend classes in Namibian schools and people living along the border have relatives in both countries.

Last month, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said hunger in Angola was on the rise as the country experienced its worst episode of drought in four decades in the south-western provinces.

The country has been experiencing episodes of drought since December last year with below average rainfall in the provinces of Cuanza Sul, Benguela, Huambo, Namibe and Huíla, the WFP said.

"The situation is not expected to improve in the coming months in the absence of above average rainfall".

Abnormal dryness is hampering the 2020/21 rainy season, which typically runs from November to April.

As water supply diminishes, severely impacting crops with losses of up to 40 percent and increasing the risk for livestock sustenance, WFP is extremely concerned given the chronic food insecurity and malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas.

The situation is also giving rise to migratory movements from the most affected areas with families moving towards other provinces and across the border to Namibia.

Last month, Namibian authorities deported about 100 illegal immigrants from Angola.

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