from ALFRED SHILONGO in Windhoek, Namibia
WINDHOEK – JAPAN’S alleviation of hardships faced by drought-stricken Namibians is a reflection of the solidarity between the two nations each time one of the countries is faced with calamity.
It solidifies cordial relations between them.
Namibia, the Southern African country prone to the impact of climate change, is reeling from its worst drought in the last 35 years.
It has affected more than 500 000 Namibians.
More families are becoming vulnerable to severe food insecurity due to prolonged and recurrent droughts.
Japan has responded with a contribution of US$700 000 (N$11,2 million) to provide assistance to some 30 000 people vulnerable to the drought.
The funds have been made available to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP).
With Japan’s contribution, WFP has purchased 914 tonnes of food commodities comprising of fortified maize, pulses, vegetable oil and salt.
This contribution by the Asian nation will help build the resilience of the identified vulnerable communities living in the Kavango East and Kavango West regions.
They are two of the most affected regions.
Bai Mankay Sankoh, the WFP Namibia Country Director and Representative, said the vital assistance came at a crucial time as coronavirus (COVID-19) was also restricting movement, which was further affecting livelihoods.
“Japan supports Namibia’s commitment to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry,” Sankoh said.
However, as Japan’s top envoy in Namibia pointed out, the intervention by Japan is of great significance.
Hideaki Harada, Ambassador of Japan, reminded that when Japan suffered extensive damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, his country received heartfelt messages and great support from the government of then-president Hifikepunye Pohamba and the people of Namibia.
“Japan is happy to return this gesture through this contribution to the drought that Namibia has faced,” Harada said at the event in the capital, Windhoek.
The earthquake was the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
It left about 16 000 people dead.
Japan has been funding food assistance for developing countries since 1968.
It is a long-standing partner of WFP in Southern Africa.
Diplomatic relations between Japan and Namibia were established on March 21 1990, the day the African nation became independent.
– CAJ News