Ndapewa Fenny Nakanyete, Rosemary, N. Shikangalah, Absai Vatuva
Abstract: Drought is one of the most significant and challenging natural disasters across the globe. In Southern Africa, the phenomenon has become more frequent and severe, with devastating impacts particularly on livelihoods of Namibian communities, their farming activities and availability of water resources. This study provides an overview of drought in a Namibian context, with special presented cases from the north central region. The study mainly employed secondary data from various existing in publications to explore the concepts, causes and forecasting of drought. Furthermore, relevant newspapers were reviewed to assess the impacts of the recent drought whilst interviews were conducted with key informants on drought prediction using indigenous knowledge. It is revealed in the study’s findings that Namibia’s climate and rainfall abnormalities are influenced by the interplay of the dominant Subtropical High Pressure Zone (SHPZ), the Temperate Zone and Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Thus, drought susceptibility of livelihoods often prevails and was traced in this study as far as 1911, during which thousands of people died largely due to famine. Although not as this many human lives were lost during the 2019 drought, three people instantly died as the wall of the dug well collapsed, at least 90 000 of livestock were reported to have died of thirst while one-third of the country’s population was affected as the staple cereal production depreciated significantly. The study recommends improved early warning systems, possibly by merging the Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis with relevant indigenous knowledge. Meanwhile, strategies on sustainable harvesting of groundwater from the discovered Ohangwena II aquifer - need to be prioritized to support the affected livelihoods in the country.
Keywords: drought, disaster, Namibia, livelihoods, early warning system, indigenous knowledge, water, communities