Published in November 2019

More and more I find myself talking about weird weather. This month there have been extraordinary scenes from Venice where water covered St Mark’s Square and flooded churches and other historic buildings. Closer to home, parts of the north of England are looking more like an inland lake with water sitting on fields and, tragically, in people’s homes. 

Elsewhere conversations revolve not about the high levels of rainfall but the lack of it. Namibia for example is experiencing a succession of droughts which has already lasted up to 7 years in some areas. Harrowing images of animal corpses show the plight of herds of livestock and roaming wild animals. Half a million people are reported to be without adequate food. That’s 20% of the country’s population at risk of famine.

Dead tree in Namibian drylands

There are press reports that native animals in the country’s national parks are being transported to reserves in other parts of Africa as there is simply not enough natural vegetation to support them. So elephants, buffalo and giraffe are on the move, not through natural migration but a programme of weather enforced transportation. Noah’s ark springs to mind but the irony is that these animals are being saved not from water, but from the lack of it.

I saw some of the evidence of this natural disaster when I visited Namibia earlier this month, prospecting for sand dams. Sand Dams Worldwide has been asked to look at the potential for sand dams to help natural vegetation recover and support livestock and populations of wild animals when the rain just doesn’t fall. Too late for the herds of springbok and oryx this year, but it could really help in years to come.

On a more optimistic note, all of us in the Sand Dams Worldwide office are counting down the days to our Big Christmas Challenge. All donations made between 3-10 December will go towards helping farmers grow crops on land which, without a sand dam, could not be used for agriculture. A gift from you could make all the difference to people in places where the weather is leaving people hungry and vulnerable.

Thank you.

Want to donate towards a sand dam and have your donations doubled for free? Check out our Big Give Christmas Challenge!