Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Namibia drought: one in three at risk of malnutrition

David Smith in “globaldevelopment” blog at the Guardian (UK): One in three people in Namibia is at risk of malnutrition, the UN has warned, as the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa endures its worst drought for a generation.

The government declared a state of emergency after the failure of crops in May and pledged $20m (£13m) of relief for the worst-hit households. The Kunene region in the north has had no rain for two years, and families have been forced to sell livestock and migrate to cities in search of work.

After a summer lacking rains and a typically dry southern hemisphere winter, Unicef, the UN's children agency, has appealed for millions more to tackle the situation.

"An estimated 778,000 Namibians, a third of the population, are either severely or moderately food insecure," said Unicef, noting that this includes 109,000 under fives. "Against a backdrop of underlying fragility, including pre-existing high levels of food insecurity and maternal and child undernutrition (29% national stunting) combined with low sanitation coverage (14% in rural areas), children and women are particularly at risk of worsening health and nutrition status given the current drought conditions," the agency added.

Unicef has appealed for $7.4m (£4.8m) to support efforts to respond to the needs of women and children affected by the drought. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is asking for $1.48m (£1m)…

Ancient dunes from the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. Shot by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

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