Namibia: Farmers Count Veld Fire Losses

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With swathes of grassland destroyed and hundreds of livestock burned to death, wildfires have brought misery and anguish to communal farmers in the Omaheke region.

Several farmers in the villages of Okonjoka, Omitimire and Otjomunguindi in Aminuis constituency and those in the Nina area of Okorukambe constituency said they have suffered severe losses following a series of devastating veld fires last week. Aminuis constituency councillor Peter Kazongominja yesterday said initial estimates indicate that approximately 45 000 hectares of grazing land have been destroyed, while over 100 goats and sheep in the constituency have succumbed to veld fires.

Kazongominja said farmers are still in the process of determining the number of large livestock and infrastructural losses.

Hijambaari Kozozi, a farmer at Okonjama village, told New Era that he lost 95 goats and sheep to the fire.

“My wife and I have lost our entire livelihood. We are still in shock. We thought we were recovering well after the drought, but God has other plans for us,” he said.

“We don’t have insurance. I am estimating the value of my loss at N$270 000. I appeal to those who have suffered similar damages to contact me through the office of the councillor.”

A local agricultural magazine, AfriForum has reported that the fire at Nina that caused extensive damage to about 12 farms in the area was brought under control earlier Thursday.

The publication reported that an entire farm burned to ashes, while another farmer has one camp with grass left while there are farmers who lost half their pasture.

Namibian Charcoal Association’s chairperson Michael Degé and his workers are some of those that came to help put out the fire.

”At this point it doesn’t seem to be a runaway fire. The wind changes short-short of direction and just as we are afraid, we see that the fire can extinguish itself this way possible. It’s great to see how the people on the scene know what they are doing,” he was quoted as saying.

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