Namibia: daily challenges in a flooded country

by Gerhard Braunmiller/SRI, 2009/05/28

For us, the humedica team, the objective of the day was clear: 65 families were to be supplied with food (25 kg cornmeal, 12.5 kg beans, 1 litre oil) and relief goods (3 blanket, 2 water cans, 120 pellets for water purification, soap and three mosquito nets). A total of almost three tons of goods. Organising the distribution itself would have been simple, were it not for the transport across a flooded country.

Transport through the region was handled without any problems for the first 140 kilometres of our only 150 kilometre journey. We transported the goods on our truck first on a tarmac road and then on a relatively well-maintained gravel road. But then the road did not end. No. It was completely flooded with the water being about one metre deep.

2.8 tons of relief goods are transported by alternative means: no problem in Africa. Photo: humedica

This was the beginning of the ultimate challenge we were facing during this distribution: a new logistics supply chain was established by means of small wooden canoes, oxcarts and many assisting heads. At first, the relief goods were loaded on the wooden canoes, then on the oxcarts, then back on the canoes and finally they were carried to the water enclosed village on the heads of many helpers.

Over 400 needy women, children and men were waiting for the urgently needed relief goods of humedica. The goods were distributed according to lists which had been compiled in advance and named the needy households of the village. Before we started distributing, however, a short speech was held to inform about the kind and quantity of goods and their origin.

The inhabitants were shown how to use the pallets for water purification. Then we called each family by name, asked them to name the number of children and adults living in their household, determined the exact quantity of required relief goods and after receiving a signature, we distributed the urgently needed goods to the people.

Our day had started very early in the morning, but nevertheless we were in some hurry, since we had to make our way back through the water before sunset.

In the late afternoon we therefore took our leave on time and with the satisfying knowledge that – thanks to the help of the people who were now contently waving goodbye – we had managed to offer some relief to those in misery.

We would like to thank all our friends and sponsors and the Federal Foreign Office for their targeted support on behalf of all those people who have received our help over the past few months and still receive it today.

Janika Simon and Gerhard Braunmiller

Thanks to the assistance of local helpers, the humedica team was able to provide about 400 families with relief goods this day. Photo: humedica

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