RESIDENTS of the Narraville residential area in Walvis Bay have since Friday evening blocked off the access road to a makeshift cemetery and prevented the burial of the second patient that was registered as a COVID-19 death in Namibia.
Unhappy residents called on the Erongo Regional Governor, Neville Andre, to visit the site in order for them to air their grievances about the grave situation that is slowly developing into a standoff with authorities.
The people are steadfast in their belief that people who die of COVID-19 related issues should be buried with dignity in the existing cemeteries of Walvis Bay.
“There is no law or regulation that prescribes that people should be buried like animals away from other people. The only reason mass graves were used in other countries was because of the high number of COVID-19 deaths they experienced. There is no need for that in Namibia,” one protester said
The two people registered as COVID-19 related deaths in Namibia were never tested for infection before their untimely demise and were also never registered as active cases. Only after autopsies were performed, did health authorities register their deaths as related to COVID-19.
Protesting residents not only blocked the burial of the second person but also filled the grave that was dug in preparation of the funeral under the cover of darkness on Friday evening.
One resident said that the groundwork for the cemetery has not been done properly. The grave they filled up with sand was half full of seawater that seeped in from the bottom.
“People should be buried with the necessary dignity. Just putting them in hole half-filled with water is not only undignified and disrespectful; it shows the lack of care from the relevant authorities. It also fosters more stigmatisation,” one of the protesters said.
The group of protesters said they will not allow the burial of the second person and also demanded that the remains of the first person to be buried in the makeshift cemetery, be removed and buried elsewhere.