RESIDENTS of Twaloloka who lost most of their worldly belongings in the destructive fire on Sunday night, will be some of the first people to be relocated to newly designated areas that were identified by the Walvis Bay Municipality for the decongestion of informal settlements.
The decongestion of informal settlements is a vital tool in the fight against the unabated spread of COVID-19 among the people of especially Twaloloka.
The Erongo Regional Governor announced that in the wake of disaster on Sunday night, the Walvis Bay Town Council during yet another extraordinary meeting decided to fast track the relocation of the Twaloloka fire victims to an alternative site where they will be able to build new shacks.
The Erongo Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, briefed the Erongo Regional Governor, Neville Andre, on the scene of the destruction.
Andre and the head of the high level government fact finding delegation, Deputy Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Hafeni Ndemula and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Daniel Kashikola visited the informal settlement on Monday morning to personally assess the situation.
Deputy Commissioner Iikuyu during his briefing of the regional governor said initial investigations indicate that the fire started at around 18:00 on Sunday afternoon at the home of the only person that died as a result of the fire.
The little boy was identified as the three-year-old Ngukongwanongo Felep Mhandla.
The detective said that the toddler’s mother was busy cooking dinner when the fire started.
She left the house to go to a nearby shop and left the little boy and a sibling inside with a burning candle.
It was further reported that the candle fell on a bed, which caught fire.
The older child rushed to find his mother and they attempted to pull the burning mattress from the house, but the little boy fell off and got stuck under the bed.
The burning mattress ignited other items inside the house and quickly spread to adjacent homes.
The mother and her surviving child were taken to hospital to receive treatment for smoke inhalation and shock.
Besides assessing the damage caused by the fire, members of the government delegation and the regional governor also paid their respects to the family of the little boy that perished in the fire.
Despite a small scale riot that was quickly quelled by law enforcement officers on Sunday evening, sailors and marines from the Namibian Navy erected several big tents on a piece of open ground near the scene of the fire to accommodate some of the most affected residents a few hours later.
On Monday morning, the remains of the little boy that perished in the fire were covered with a white sheet while mourners gathered close to the death scene. The remaining residents had to wait until detectives of the Namibian Police lifted the police lines before they could start scouring through the debris of their former homes.
Governor Andre said during the announcement that school hostels have been made available to accommodate the displaced residents of Twaloloka in the meantime.
He added that people will also be accommodated in tents provided by the Red Cross and other government institutions while the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture has pledged to provide some meat to the victims.
Since news of the fire broke, Namibians from all walks launched a humanitarian drive to gather food, clothing and blankets, which they aim to donate to the people left homeless by the fire.
Governor Andre said the reaction was almost overwhelming and stated that his office will coordinate the spontaneous humanitarian effort.