Namibia: Drought-Stricken Angolans Urged to Go Home

ANGOLAN nationals camping at various sites in the Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene regions seeking humanitarian assistance in Namibia have been asked by their government to pack their bags and go home.

The Angolan government said it is in a better position to assist its citizens on home ground than in Namibia.

Gerdina Didalelwa, the governor of the Cunene province in Angola, on Tuesday announced this at Eembaxu village during her working visit to the Ohangwena region.

"We are pleading with you all to voluntarily return home ... because we will not be able to offer you the much-needed assistance while you are still here. We will not be able to send truckloads of food and kitchen items to Namibia, because it would cost us a lot of fuel money.

"Remember, the border remains closed and you came here illegally through the porous border lines. Covid-19 is still among us and we need to continue taking care of ourselves.

"We have now acquired the much-needed assistance to offer you. Please think about it, and once you have made up your minds, kindly inform the Namibian leaders, and we will see how we will take you back home," she said.

Didalelwa said the Angolan government has in recent months observed a high influx of Angolan nationals fleeing to Namibia due to the severe drought in their own country - a situation she describes as disturbing.

She said this could exacerbate the Covid-19 infection rate in the two countries as Angola is currently battling a high number of infections.

Angola recorded about 16 Covid-19 deaths on Monday alone.

More than 520 000 Angolans are facing the effects of severe drought.

"We currently do not have the exact number of affected Angolan nationals in Namibia, because it keeps increasing every day."

Didalelwa said the Angolan government has recorded 150 Angolans in the Ohangwena region, and 1 450 in the Omusati region.

She said her government plans to continue assisting all those affected by the drought once they return home.

The government has thus far set up three centres for displaced people in the Cunene province, she said.

The governor of the Ohangwena region, Walde Ndevashiya, says the penetrable border remains a challenge as people continue to enter both Namibia and Angola through uncontrolled entry points.

He says people in the two countries are faced with a number of challenges which forces them to cross over illegally, while urging the two countries' governments to urgently seek solutions to the matter.

On Tuesday, the Angolan government donated food items to the Angolans camping at Onghalulu village in the Okongo constituency.

The Office of the Prime Minister in March also donated food items to the illegal immigrants in the Omusati and Ohangwena regions.

The Angolan delegation to Namibia aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries and to improve people's social welfare.

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