accessibility & help

Red Cross helps Namibians after drought

11 October 2013

A group of children wash their hands

As Namibia faces its worst drought in 30 years, the British Red Cross is supporting the relief effort with a £50,000 grant and delegate to support the emergency response.

Rainfall has been significantly below average across most of the country, resulting in decreased crop production. Now, an estimated 330,925 people are facing a food shortage.

Cereal production this year is down an estimated 42 per cent compared to last year and pastures for grazing have been severely affected in six regions where many households rely on livestock production.

Thirty per cent of people affected only have enough food for one meal a day, children are at risk of severe malnutrition and people are selling what few assets they have.

Appeal and response

The Government of Namibia and the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) appealed for international assistance in May, when a national state of emergency was declared.

The NRCS appeal focused on four of the worst affected regions: Kunene, Kavango, Oshikoto and Ohangwena.

Communities will be supported with water and sanitation to keep people healthy and to prevent disease, improved access to food, and help to re-establish their livelihoods.

As part of the initial response, the British Red Cross sent a delegate to help assess the scale of the problem in the four affected regions.

We have also contributed £50,000 from our Disaster Fund to help those most in need and support NRCS to increase its ability to respond to emergencies in the long-term.

Cash grants

A British Red Cross household economic security delegate has also been deployed to Namibia to support a trial programme of cash grants to those families worst affected.

These cash grants allow families to make their own decisions about what tools, food or medicines they need to recover and reduce their need to sell livestock or reduce portion sizes at meals.

Pete Garratt, disaster response manager, said: “The drought in Namibia is affecting hundreds of thousands of people in what is a comparatively neglected crisis.

“By providing support through cash transfer programmes the British Red Cross is supporting the livelihoods of families in the drought affected regions, giving them ability to make decisions for themselves, based on their needs.”

Our Disaster Fund allows us to respond immediately when major disasters strike. Help us be ready in advance and save lives the next time disaster strikes. Please make a donation today.

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