Drought-ravaged villagers on the outskirts of Opuwo, whose crops failed for lack of rain have expressed their utmost appreciation over the provision of hot soup through a soup kitchen started two weeks ago by the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS).
NRCS initiated the drought relief programme, that includes food rations of maize meal, beans, fish and cooking oil fortified with vitamins, to assist villagers affected by the drought.
According to residents the food provided is nutritious and tasty, although they do worry that it is surely not enough to cater for every affected villager. “The food is nice, but some people are going back home with empty stomachs, because the food is not enough for everyone,” some villagers said.
Riarura Maudu, a resident of Oshakati village 60 km from Opuwo, said she came to Opuwo to enjoy the soup and would go back home immediately after she received her rations. She said although she enjoyed the meal she felt sorry for others that return home on an empty stomach.
According NRCS, the soup kitchen is part of its food security response to the five worst drought-affected regions: Kunene, Kavango, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Zambezi.
The soup kitchens cater for 720 households, which will provide one meal a day six days a week. The meal adheres to the minimum nutriotional standard, with each individual receiving half a kilogramme of maize meal.
Opuwo is the capital of the Kunene Region and is one of the areas worst affected by the drought, which has diminished the prospects for food security. An assessment conducted by the Namibian government and donor partners found that 370 361 people are in desperate need of food and potable water.
A press release issued by Rosemary Nalisa, manager of humanitarian diplomacy at the NRCS indicated they are best placed to deliver assistance through a soup kitchen. The NRCS also anticipates a high likelihood of getting food donations in country through the ‘Namibians Helping Namibians’ campaign, which proved highly successful in the previous intervention.
Additionally, the NRCS would provide longer term food security through the establishment of five community gardens and the provision of gardening inputs per region, which would benefit 100 household and improve nutrition for 500 beneficiaries.