Early warning system for Kunene

• By Terence Mukasa

THE Namibia Meteorological Services (NMS) under the Ministry of Works and Transport signed a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) to develop an Early Warning System tailored for the Kunene region.

The Kunene region is one of the most vulnerable in the country, having been badly impacted by climate-related shocks for the past four years, notably extended harsh droughts that have resulted in the loss of people’s livelihoods, mainly owing to livestock mortality.

EIF chief executive officer, Benedict Libanda said the risks have been exacerbated with outbreak of Covid-19 as well as the current prevailing economic downturn and in order to mitigate against the systemic risks, an ‘Early Warning System’ (EWS) needs to be developed.

An EWS is an adaptive measure for climate change, using integrated communication systems to help communities prepare for hazardous climate-related events, it is extremely important because it helps subsystems for detecting threats early.

“A successful EWS saves lives and jobs, ecosystem, infrastructure and supports long-term sustainability. It can also assist in planning, saving money in the long run and protecting economies and livelihoods in a dignified way,” explained Libanda.

The IREMA project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, is now wrapping up the N$950 000 consultant work that built an EWS suited for the Kunene area.

The name IREMA Kunene Project is derived from ‘Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management Practices of Smallholder Farmers Under Conditions of Climate Change in Sesfontein, Fransfontein, and Warmquelle areas’, in the Kunene region said Ministry of Works and Transport executive director, Esther Kaapanda.

“We can have a good influence on people as a country by collaborating between government and private organisations on development projects,” she said.

She further explained that through its MoU with the EIF, the IREMA Kunene project seeks to install meteorological instruments such as manual and automated rain gauges and automatic weather stations in conjunction with MTC.

“The installation of these stations will increase the network of meteorological service stations and, as a result, improve the precision of weather predictions given for the project area (Sesfontein, Warmqulle, Khowarib, Fransfontein and Kamanjab),” added Kaapanda.

Through the partnership with MTC, four automated weather stations have been procured at the cost of N$800 000 and will be installed at the anchors project areas such as Warmquelle, Fransfontein, Kamajab and Berseg in the Kunene Region.

Libanda added that investments in the adaptation and early warning action system needs to be a priority, furthermore, more resources need to be mobilised.