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Placido Hilikilua

SOLIDARITY against adversity and tragedy, most notable in rural-, off-the-beaten-track and the poorest of the poor in suburbs of Windhoek and other towns, rallied to the aid of the next-of-kin gathering at the graves of victims of violent weather-related tragedies the past weeks.

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, three people were killed by lightning at the Mayondo Village in the Kavango-West Region, and three days later lightning struck in the Epembe Constituency killing five young people where they were huddled in a traditional structure against a thunderstorm. They were, Matheus Phillipus (19), Hanna Immanuel (18), Victoria Immanuel (16), Lutu Kashaalwa (12) and Mattheus Lukas, a four-year-old toddler.

Four days later, ten children were swept away behind the Wernhill complex from under the bridge where they were sleeping. Four bodies were recovered of which three were identified by family members.



They were Terrence !Goraseb, a well-known face for thousands of motorists in die CBD over the years, Antonio Vries and Densley Hochobeb. Two of the ten are unaccounted for and four were rescued and treated in the Katutura State Hospital.
It is worth mentioning that the group all come from Damara 7 in Katutura where hundreds of residents are paying respect and assist the families who have no funds to bury their children and grandchildren.

The first order of the day for President Hage Geingob on his return yesterday from the United States, which included stopovers in Sierra Leone and Qatar after being one of several heads of state invited by the Amir of Qatar, was expressing condolences and offered his assistance to the families and households.

This week, community members of the Ohangwena frontier raised funds and buried the five victims who had been struck by lightning from a traditional homestead of the Onaifiyo-village in the Ohangwena region.

The tragedy occurred in the Onaifiyo village on the thirteenth of December. The next day, a WhatsApp group was launched to mobilize assistance for the bereaved family.

The campaign quickly attracted attention and Namibians from all walks of life contributed food and money to assist.
Except for the food stuffs such as maize meal and cooking oil, a cash amount of N$30 000 was collected by the time the funeral service was held earlier in the week.

The smallest individual monetary contribution was N$100 while the highest was a whopping N$10 000.
Contributors included prominent personalities such as the Ohangwena Regional Governor, Walde Ndevashiya and the Namibian ambassador to Egypt, Vilho Nghifindaka.

The funeral arrangements of the Windhoek flood fatalities are not yet known as family are scattered around the country.
Fatal lightning strikes in Namibia during the country’s notorious electric storms, are more common than most communities suspect.

In January 2018 a man, his wife and three children were killed by a lightning bolt at the Mazongendaba village in the Zambezi-region.

A woman was killed and three others injured at Etomba in Ohangwena, while a man was killed at Oshandi village in 2021, a further woman was killed in Mpungu and a man at Ntatra in the Kavango Region.

However, lightning strikes were even more brutal this year. A man was fatally struck at Ngoma in Kabbe North, a woman at Okathankanguti village in Omusati, another woman was struck at Oipapakane in Ohangwena and two men the following month at Omutwewondjamba village.

People are cautioned to stay away from electrical installations and not hide under tall trees in forests as these can act as lightning rod.

Namibians are warned to be extremely cautious as more thunderstorms with lightning are expected in the next few days.

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