Namibia drought threatens 400 000
07 August 2013, 16:03
Windhoek - A severe drought that sparked a state of
emergency in Namibia has left 400,000 people facing hunger, the government
The government has been criticised for failing to do enough
to provide relief to people during the worst dry spell to hit the country in
But the chairperson of the Disaster Risk Management
Committee defended the government's performance as he announced the new figure
late on Tuesday.
"We are trying to do the best we can to make sure that
the food goes to the intended people. So far so good," he said.
Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, and
only two percent of land receives sufficient rainfall to grow crops.
The southern African country has seen several droughts in
the recent decades.
The number of people at risk from hunger has risen from 300 000
in May, when President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a state of emergency.
In May, the government started handing out maize meal bags
to rural areas in a central part of the country and authorities are appealing
for international support.
Unicef says more than 778 000 people including 109 000
children under the age of five are at risk of malnutrition.
The organisation says it needs about $22m to support those
The dry spell has destroyed grazing land and raised concerns
about the country's spectacular wildlife, which attracts vital tourist income.