THE more than 400 victims of the Twaloloka shack blaze will be relocated to three new sites in Walvis Bay that will be known as Otweya.
On Sunday night, the community of the Twaloloka informal settlement fled for their lives following a fire that destroyed their homes and left most of its residents destitute.
‘Otweya’ translates to ‘we have arrived’ and means that the community has finally found a place to settle permanently.
For the past four years, people have been at odds with the Walvis Bay Municipality on where to settle and as a result have been relocated several times to make way for new housing developments in the larger area of Kuisebmond.
The name ‘Twaloloka’, which translates to ‘we are tired’, is indicative of their struggle to find a more permanent stand to erect their homes.
Neville Andre, the Erongo Regional Governor, during a handover of tents and other necessities to the community affected by the devastating fire, made the announcement and said the people will be able to start moving to the new sites within the next four weeks.
“It is indeed sad to witness the living conditions of our people especially in the various informal settlements and back yard shacks and to allow people to lead a more dignified life, the local authority of Walvis Bay has availed two portions of Farm 37 and the National Housing Enterprise also availed an undivided erf where the people would be able to settle,” Andre said.
The regional governor urged the community to take note that they are being accommodated in tents, which means that they will soon be free to move to their permanent homes.
He said it is a traumatic experience for any family or a person to lose a home to a fire.
“Such emotional distress cripples the burden on our society whose houses are destroyed and creates dysfunctional families or households. Although many escaped the fire, we would like to express our sincere sympathy to the family who lost their loved one during this unfortunate incident. May you find solace in the Lord, from where our help comes from,” he said.
He said the aid that was received is being coordinated by his office to ensure that each resident receives a fair and equal share.
“I wish to express my gratitude to those who have assisted in making it possible that our people have a place to sleep, have mattresses to sleep on, have blankets to cover themselves especially during this unpredictable weather conditions. In the same vein, I would like to express my gratitude to every person, organisation, private sector and civil society, for their immense support and contributions to bring relief to the destitute families,” Andre said.
He expressed the hope that the assistance rendered to the community will help restore not only a temporary shelter and warmth, but also to ease the trauma they experienced.
“At this juncture, I would like to humbly appeal to everybody to be vigilant and take personal responsibility for reducing the risk of such incidents that have devastated the lives to so many in Twaloloka,” the governor said.
Andre indicated that besides opening a temporary site for the tented camp, the local authority has also created storage facility on the premises to keep all donations and from there distribute it to the beneficiaries.
“We have engaged with the Erongo RED to look at the possibility of providing temporary electrification at the tented camp and I am happy to inform you that they are looking into it,” he said.
Andre said that people should be assured of the fact that the Namibian Government is committed to all citizens and will always make sure that the necessary support will be provided during a time of crises.