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China offers much-needed food aid to drought-hit Namibia

2019-12-19 Source:Xinhua Author:Wu Changwei

Staff members distribute food to residents in Namibia's northern town Nkurenkuru, Dec. 17, 2019. Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP). (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

WINDHOEK, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP).

Around 1,300 metric tons of food were handed over to the region and it is expected that the donation will assist 77,400 people, many of whom are vulnerable women and children.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony in Nkurenkuru, the capital town in the region, Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming said they secured 1 million U.S. dollar worth of food assistance under China's South-South Cooperation Fund, which is being implemented by the WFP.

"I am aware that the current relief program by Namibia can only provide 14 percent of the daily calories needed by each person, and the implementation of this program will lift this proportion up to 60 percent," he added.

Zhang said that he visited some affected areas and saw the devastating impact inflicted on agriculture by the ongoing drought and its negative impact on its economy at large.

"The consequdment shortage of food is posing a huge threat to the lives of many local people affected and becomes the utmost concern faced by the government," he said, adding that he is confident that the program will be implemented as planned.

Nkurenkuru Constituency Councillor, Damian Nakambare, in her opening remarks said the donation, which included basic food commodities like maize meal, cooking oil and salt, is set to assist the hardest-hit households in the area.

"This is the third donation so far we have received from China since the declaration of the drought by the president," she said.

Nakambare on behalf of the Namibian government thanked China for the continued support during the difficult time and hopes the two countries can further strengthen the areas of disaster risk management system and capacity and resilience building so that communities can be able to fend themselves in future amid the disaster calamities.

The WFP Country Director, Bai-Mankay Sankoh said China has been a substantial donor to the WFP in the fight against hunger and is among the top donors in the Southern African region.

According to Sankoh in 2019 alone China has contributed a total of 21 million U.S. dollars for humanitarian intervention to different governments in southern Africa through the WFP program.

"These are very significant contributions towards the achievements of ending hunger," he said.

Zhang meanwhile said China will uphold the principle of "sincerity, amity and good faith" and stand firmly by Namibian people in the face of the drought by providing all assistance that they can afford.

Namibia is currently experiencing the worst drought ever recorded in 40 years and the Chinese government has since heeded the call to assist those affected by the drought in and around the south-western African nation.

Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming (R) hands over food to a local official in Namibia's northern town Nkurenkuru, Dec. 17, 2019. Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP). (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

Staff members distribute food to residents in Namibia's northern town Nkurenkuru, Dec. 17, 2019. Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP). (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

A staff member distributes food to residents in Namibia's northern town Nkurenkuru, Dec. 17, 2019. Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP). (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

Local residents wait for food distribution in Namibia's northern town Nkurenkuru, Dec. 17, 2019. Namibia's drought-ravaged region of Kavango West, located in the northern parts of the country, on Tuesday received much-needed emergency food assistance provided by China via World Food Program (WFP). (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)

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Editor:Catherine