MINISTER of sport, youth and national service, Agnes Tjongarero said “only those who really need” should get food aid during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She was speaking at the handover of
emergency food parcels at Usakos last Friday. The food parcels were
acquired by a group calling themselves Sons and Daughters of Usakos who
raised N$50 000 through social media, to buy mealie-meal, oil and canned
fish. The food is intended for families who lost jobs and income due to
Tjongarero said the coronavirus came at a crucial time when Namibia thought it had just survived a five-year drought that killed cattle, wildlife and crops, robbing farmers and suppliers of their livelihood and resulting in food shortages.
“First there was the drought, but then there was some rain relief. As soon as it rained, and people thought the time had come to move on, then Covid-19 comes. Many people were already going hungry because of the drought, and are still hungry. Now they have lost jobs and incomes, and so the food shortage continues,” she said. She commended Sons and Daughters of Usakos for sharing what they could with the many needy.
“It’s a little, but it is something. It is, however, not enough; it will never be enough. Food is food, but now only those who are really in need must get it,” she said. “Even if it will only help them for a few days.”
Usakos mayor Akser Mwafangeyo said that the 442 food parcels from the government that were delivered to the community last week as part of its emergency assistance to those who lost jobs was not enough.
“This left the community unhappy regardless of us explaining the limitations and conditions to them,” he said.
Besides the food parcels, more than 1 000 people at Usakos also received the emergency income grant of N$750, while another 600 are in the process of being verified.
Mwafangeyo commended community initiatives such as Sons and Daughters of Usakos, as well as assistance from private companies such as Navachab gold mine that recently donated 150 food parcels.
He too stressed that the donations must go to those who really need them.
Erongo governor Neville André Itope said it takes a collective effort to address the impact of the pandemic, and commended stakeholders for their help to the poor and needy. His office also contributed 150 parcels of food.