Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson at the Drought Assistance Food Delivery

Food handover at Neyuva Village in Mashare Constituency, Kavango East Region

Good morning!  It is a pleasure to be here today with the Honorable Governor and the United Nations World Food Programme.  I am happy to announce that we are beginning the distribution of the U.S. food assistance to Namibian families suffering from the worst effects of the drought.

What you see today is the first batch of food assistance, which the United States pledged in September.  Today we are beginning the delivery of 800 metric tons of food – maize meal, beans, vegetable oil, and salt.  This food will be delivered to the Kavango communities that need it most.  These 800 tons of food will feed tens of thousands of people.

While Namibia is used to low rainfall, the last rainy season was far below average.  Crops failed, and livestock has died.  Unfortunately, the Kavango regions were among the hardest hit by the effects of the drought.  That is why we are beginning the delivery of our food assistance here.  The United States wants to ensure that our food goes first to those who need it most.

This is the first delivery of the food promised by the United States.  Over the next six months, we will be providing food to over 350,000 Namibians across the country.  I am proud to say that no other nation can match America’s investment in the health of the Namibian people.

This food assistance for the Kavangos is provided through USAID’s Food for Peace program and represents US$1 million of the US$8.7 million of the United States drought relief. The World Food Programme is managing the procurement and distribution of the food. WFP has decades of experience all over the globe in emergency assistance, and they are a great partner.  I’d like to thank BaiMankay Sankoh, Country Director of the UN WFP, for enabling America’s assistance to get to beneficiaries.  It has taken a tremendous amount of work to get to this point today.

I would now like to officially hand over this food assistance to the Honorable Governor.

Finally, I’d like to recognize and thank again both the Honorable Samuel Mbambo and Country Director for WFP BaiMankay Sankoh.  We would not be here today, delivering much needed food assistance, if were not for your tireless work to make this happen.  The United States has committed and strong partners in both of you.  Thank you for all you have done to make sure this food gets to the people who need it.