• August 25th, 2019
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Spike in thefts expected in drought-hit Opuwo

WINDHOEK – The drought being experienced in the Opuwo rural and urban constituencies in the Kunene Region might push people to start stealing from one another, the councillor of Opuwo rural constituency, Kazeongere Tjeundo told New Era.  Tjeundo stressed that the effects of drought are so bad he fears for people in Opuwo, who are barely surviving. 
Most inhabitants of Opuwo rural and urban constituencies depend on crop farming and livestock rearing for survival, as a result they are struggling to make-ends meet with livestock dying like flies and fields are dry, highlighted the councillor.

“We don’t have a culture of stealing from one another but I’m afraid that is where we are headed to,” said the councillor.
Tjeundo, who said government should no longer delay in assisting the people of Kunene with drought relief. 
“The effects of this drought are visible to the naked eye. Even a child will tell you that we are experiencing a severe drought. As I am talking to you now, we are experiencing a severe heatwave. It’s very, very hot,” emphasised Tjeundo. 
He said cattle, goats and sheep are dying in huge numbers. 
“People can’t even sell their livestock because they will receive peanuts in exchange and the livestock are very lean,” stated Tjeundo. 

Speaking to New Era also from Opuwo, 69-year-old Uazuvaije Kapetja from Ombepera village, located some 110 kilometres south-west of Opuwo, said he lost 200 small stock this year alone. 
“I will lose more if the situation continues like this,” said the old man.  

The councillor for the Opuwo-Urban constituency in the Kunene region, Weich Mupya said the poor rains have affected inhabitants of Opuwo and the surroundings “very hard”, as the majority rely on livestock and crop farming for a living.
Mupya said, “This is one of the worst droughts we have experienced.” The poor rains from October to-date made it impossible for people, the majority who depend on crop farming, to start ploughing to prepare for the rainy season, said Mupya. 

“Normally, people start ploughing from November but they only started now after we encouraged them to plough just in case it rains. People are hungry. There is no food. There is no drought relief. So, for those who do not have any means of survival, the dumpsite is their only option,” stated Mupya. 

The dumpsite located behind the Katutura location (in Opuwo) is the place where the needy scavenge for food, added the councillor. 

“The shops and restaurants dump rotten food there,” responded Mupya as to who continues to dump food at the dumpsite.
“So people have no choice because if they don’t get food they go to the dumping site to see if they will get food. This is true especially for people who come from faraway villages,” said Mupya. 
There is no consistency in drought relief handouts, said a concerned Mupya. 

“Drought relief handouts stopped in September last year. So there is no programme in place to distribute food to needy people in various parts of the region,” said the Councillor. 

He added that people are flocking to Opuwo from the villages because their livestock are dying. “It’s not just the cattle dying. It’s also the goats and the sheep. So this is a very worrisome situation. We are very much worried,” said Mupya. 
New Era could not get comment from the Governor of Kunene region, Marius Sheya by the time of going to print. He was in a meeting when New Era phoned him to comment on the matter. 

Alvine Kapitako
2019-02-12 10:32:53 6 months ago

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