Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Namibia and Angola: Red Cross appeals for worst drought in 30 years

Katy Migiro in AllAfrica.com via AlertNet: Desert-hardy Namibians, overwhelmed by the worst drought to hit their country in 30 years, are surviving off wild fruits with no harvest in sight until March 2014, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said as it launched an appeal on Monday.

The government of Namibia, the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, declared a national emergency in May. Drought has resulted in crop failure and livestock deaths across the tiny country of 2.1 million people.

Maize production is 34 percent below average and over 330,000 people, or 14 percent of the population, need immediate food aid.

"A lot of the people I met had nothing in their food stores, absolutely nothing," said Hanna Butler of the IFRC, who recently visited Kunene, one of the worst hit regions in northern Namibia. "People are foraging for wild fruits ... Everyone just told me: 'I have nothing. I'm not sure what's going to happen'."

The capital city, Windhoek, received just 166 mm (6.5 inches) of rain between October and April, less than half the average for a rainy season of 355 mm, local media reported. It is the lowest figure on record since 1981/82...

Photo of Namibian desert by Scott A. Christy (Heyheyuwb),Wikimedia Commons, nder the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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