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Namibia Donates Cash to Famine Victims

Families from the south of the country wait at the side of a street before making their way to a refugee camp seeking food and shelter, in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 3, 2011

Namibian Information Minister Joel Kapaanda says the $500,000 donation demonstrates his government solidarity and compassion for the people affected by the famine.

“Our government has decided to support the people of Somalia and of the Horn of Africa,” said Kapaanda. “We felt that although Namibia is a small country with limited resources, we can still make a limited contribution… that can go a long way in mitigating the situation in the Horn.”

He also said the southern African country is working with the African Union to help resolve challenges associated with the drought and famine.

“Namibia is working through the framework of the African Union in trying to find a solution to the problem of Somalia,” he said.

Kapaanda said the contribution of Namibia towards relief efforts in East Africa could influence African Union member states to also show support to the victims of the famine.

“By donating the amount [$500,000],” said Kapaanda, “that might encourage other African countries to take a similar role in supporting the people of Somalia that might also go beyond relief assistance to politics in order to seek a negotiated settlement in Somalia.”

The African Union has said it is encouraged by member countries’ efforts to combat drought and famine.

Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the AU has scheduled an August 10 summit on the crisis.

“We will be looking at immediate and long term development in the region,” said Mwencha, “so we can develop enough mechanisms to address not just … [saving] lives, but also drought and famine in the region.”

He said the AU has already appealed to African countries for support, some of which have already begun contributing to relief efforts.

He also praised the assistance of the international community.