Drought relief, what relief?

Drought relief, what relief?

How effective are drought-combating efforts by government?
Community members in the Omuthiya area have raised concerns regarding government’s relief programme, claiming that they only receive one bag of maize meal in a span of two to three months.

This, they further claim, is usually accompanied by two tins of fish and a bottle of cooking oil. And that, they say, is not sufficient.

The one bag ration per household is universal irrespective of the size of the family, which has drawn the ire of community members, who argue that what they receive lasts only for a week, depending on the size of the family.
This came to light after New Era Weekend visited some villages in the Oshikoto region to familiarise with the situation and find out how helpful the programme has been in mitigating the fight against poverty and uplifting the lives of the impoverished people.

It was established that the majority of the community was not satisfied with the programme terming in as “a teaser for appetite” and somewhat they applauded government’s efforts despite all their concerns.

They have thus appealed to government to at least increase the quantity to three bags, considering the lengthy period that elapses before the next ration.

Meanwhile, Oshikoto’s Chief Regional Officer (CRO), Frans Enkali, said they do not have power to decide on the quantity each beneficiary must receive, as each consignment of food aid comes with instructions from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on what type of food and how it can be distributed and which group benefits.

“Any allocation of food aid is given with instructions from the OPM depending on whether it is for the distribution to the vulnerable households and those with chronic diseases which gets distributed through the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Therefore, we only distribute as per instruction, we don’t make our own rules here on how the food will be allocated,” explained Enkali.

He further stated that the instruction and the quantity of food aid received determine what each individual should get.

“Once we receive the food, we immediately disseminate it to the different constituencies unless there is an element of transport that’s lacking. Therefore, we make reports to the OPM detailing the number of beneficiaries before and after the distribution process,” he added.

“The intervals also depend on the approval from the OPM, as soon as the food has been approved from that side that is when we can also start distributing the food to different areas. “So we don’t have the power to decide whether to distribute on a monthly basis, that’s why it takes two to three months for another round of distribution,” Enkali further explained when questioned regarding the varying circulation intervals.

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