Some isolated stalks of millet is all that is left

by Maren Kuchler/RBU, 2011/06/16

While the people in Germany are cheerfully welcoming summer, winter has begun in Namibia. Temperatures of about 0 degrees pose an annual challenge to some families who do not have much to live of to start with.

Although it is hard to believe when looking at this picture: at night temperatures decrease to freezing point. Photo: humedica/Maren Kuchler

This winter, however, which has already brought along the first snowfalls, involves a threat that is more severe than over the last years – even existential due to the floods that hit the country not long ago.

humedica coordinator Maren Kuchler has been working in Namibia for one month, in order to help those who were left destitute by the water: they lost their homes, food, their basis of life. We would like to share Maren’s report with you, which tells about the disastrous extent of the silent disaster in Namibia:

“It’s millet in particular what people eat every day here in Ovamboland in the north of Namibia. Furthermore they live of meat and milk provided by herds of cows and goats. Now is the time when their stocks for winter should actually be filled to bursting, since the annual harvest season in the end of May / beginning of June has just finished.

But after the flood that hit the north of the country in March and April of this year, the situation is completely different. Many fields have been destroyed by the masses of water, harvest has been extremely poor. In many places only some isolated stalks of millet remained. Also many animals drowned in the water. Many people’s basis of life has been destroyed.

The situation is alarming above all in rural areas, far from the main road. Many families who have lost everything have found shelter with relatives or friends. They wanted to stay close to their houses and their land in order to at least keep an eye on it. But now their “host families” have run out of the last remaining food stocks.

What was the basis of life of a family was destroyed by the flood: a field of millet, which should usually be reaped by now. Photo: humedica/Maren Kuchler

Also those families that were able to return to their houses or huts after the water had receded are now lacking basic necessities such as food, clean water or blankets.

And then temperatures are decreasing; it is cold in Namibia. Although no snow falls here in the north of the country – as was the case in the capital Windhoek last week – it still cools down to zero degrees at night. The children in particular suffer from the cold.

Those persons who could not find shelter with relatives or friends and who cannot return to their home village even after the water has receded are living at refugee camps under the simplest conditions.

They live in tents, which are used by up to ten persons. Simple constructions made of plastic sheets are used as toilet facilities. Hygienic conditions cannot be compared to European standards – they are hardly imaginable from a German perspective.

humedica will focus above all on the people who live in rural areas and who have hardly received any help so far. We have ordered corn, beans and oil, but also blankets, mosquito nets, soap and water cans. At the moment everyone is waiting for the relief goods to arrive at the storage point and to be distributed as soon as possible.”

“So far, there have fortunately been no epidemics”, writes project manager Florian Klinner. But in face of the prevailing hygienic conditions, we have been extremely fortunate. Photo: humedica/Florian Klinner

In order to plan further relief measures with our coordinators in Namibia beyond these first distributions – which have been possible thanks to the generous support of the German Federal Foreign Office – the project manager in charge, Florian Klinner, travelled to the southwest African country a few days ago.

Besides thanking you, dear friends and sponsors, we would also like to express our special thanks to our team in Namibia – Jörg Eich, Maren Kuchler and Andrew Johnson – who are coordinating the distribution of relief goods such as mosquito nets for malaria prophylaxis, food and blankets."

Please support our work in Namibia, support our team’s efforts to live charity in action by means of your donation. You can contribute to relief goods distributions by means of an online donation or of course you can also make a donation in the traditional way to the account below:

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Flood relief Namibia
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also support us by sending a text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and 4.83 euros of your donation of 5 euros will be directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much!

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