Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China's Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China's Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

It’s a Thursday afternoon at Iiputu village and the sun was at its peak. In a dry grazing area, with support of small tree logs, four men carry a cow their shoulders.

Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China's Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

“The cattle was wandering around looking for grazing when it got stuck here. It’s unable to move on its own. We are now carrying it home in order to feed it some card boxes and papers and water- all with the hope that will survive this dry spell,” said Ananias Ileni, as along other farmers walk towards the homestead with a cow supported on tree logs carried on their shoulders.

The propensity of farmers assisting cattle get up is a common sight in the northern area, as farmers try and save livestock, of whose majority’s health deteriorated due to the lack of pasture.

“There is no graze, no water, we do not have money to buy Lucerne (grass) nor supplements,” Ileni told Xinhua Thursday.

Meanwhile, at Okapanda village in Namibia’s Oshikoto region, George Ndamonako has lost 26 cattle. “I had 32 cattle, of which 26 perished as a result of drought,” he told Xinhua.

Ndamonako said that he would have saved his cattle and livestock, however due to strict control measures put in place due to the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease by Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, he could not relocate animals to areas such as the Kavango regions with better grazing pasture.

The foot-and-mouth disease that broke out in some of the northern regions early this year, led to a decision by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to put restrictions on the movement of animals across the country.
This had thwarted farmers; as the loss of livestock had had a negative impact on many households and socio-economic conditions of many rural dwellers.

“We depended on farming for survival but now the perishing of all of our livestock leaves us socially and economically disadvantaged. We have no source of income nor means of production within our reach due to the dry spell. I am therefore pleading to government to assist us and provide alternative economic projects to get us out of this turmoil,” he pleaded.

For the moment, farmers are drying carcasses to preserve it for consumption as the food basket at household level keeps reducing to the dry spell. “We can only hope for assistance from government,” Ileni said.

Early this year, Government announced that close to 418,000 people affected by drought would receive assistance that includes maize meal.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister Nangula Mbako said that this comes after Cabinet had authorized the implementation of an interim drought relief program.

The state allocated 300 million Namibian dollars (25 million U.S. dollars) for drought mitigation purposes, of which 90 million Namibian dollars (7.5 million U.S. dollars) would be allocated licks, health packages and animal fodder. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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