Namibian officials say thousands of Angolans who have entered Namibia in the past year to escape a drought are returning amid fresh rain. Officials said this month that at least 18 Angolan infants, whose parents had fled from hunger, died in Namibia from malnutrition.
Dr. Francina Ananias, acting health director in northern Namibia’s Omusati region, said most Angolan migrants arrived in the country in dire conditions, killing many of the infants who had accompanied their mothers in search of food and water. ,
Ananyas said, “We assessed them to find out that they have malnutrition. So, we are giving them the formula that we have so that they can raise, but unfortunately some of them died.”
The governor of the Omusati region, Arginas Andjala, who oversees the safe return of migrants to Angola, said recent rains have encouraged them to return home to visit their farms.
“For the last five years, they did not get enough rain. This means that climate change has actually brought severe drought to the part of Angola that is now the southern part of Angola,” says Andjala Ananias. “When they arrived you could see from their bodies that they were malnourished and of course Since then, some of those children could not survive due to lack of food and their mothers did not even have enough milk to breastfeed them. That’s why I think we have recorded such a high number of infant mortality rates.”
Local journalist Maria Davids talks to some migrants who are being brought back to Angola by the Namibian government.
“The group was excited to return home,” Davids said, adding that they were keen to start again and be reunited with their families.
In Namibia and Angola, incidences of hunger are increasing in both rural and urban areas. The COVID-19 pandemic, drought and changing weather patterns are reversing the gains made by both countries in terms of realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.