Namibians come together after devastating fire

PUBLISHED 28 JUL 2020   

After a devastating fire ravaged through the informal settlement of Twaloloka in Kuisebmond on the evening of 26 July 2020, Namibians from all over came together to assist the residents of the settlement in Walvis Bay. 

The fire destroyed nearly 150 corrugated iron houses, leaving about a 1000 residents without a home and sadly claiming the life of a one-year-old boy.

The Walvis Bay fire brigade worked tirelessly to contain the fire, which started around 19:00.

Two hours later, the situation in the settlement got out of control when bystanders pelted police reservists, the fire brigade, municipal vehicles, and journalists with stones.

The reservists had to use rubber bullets and tear gas to try to bring the situation under control.

According to me. Olga Birisamus, a committee member representing the Twaloloka residents, said it was not people from that settlement who became violent. "It was guys from the location who started throwing stones. They even robbed some of the people here and grabbed cellphones and some of the belongings that people were trying to save from the fire. We are terribly angry that they have exploited this terrible situation to their advantage."

The residents that have been left homeless will be housed in tents temporarily. 

By yesterday morning the fire had stopped raging and residents had begun sifting through the rubble in hopes to find any items that might have survived the fire.

The Deputy Minister of Labor, Industrial Relations and Job Creation, Mr. Hafeni Ndemula, his counterpart of home affairs, immigration, security, and safety, Mr. Daniel Kashikola, the governor of the Erongo region, Mr. Neville Andre, the mayor of Walvis Bay, Mr. Immanuel Wilfred and councilors visited the scene yesterday morning.

Andre expressed his condolences to the family who lost their son in the fire. "What happened last night (Sunday night) is very tragic. We are very sad about the fire that destroyed everything. We are here to determine the situation on the ground first hand and see how we can assist those affected by the fire. We feel your pain and the government will definitely assist you during this time. ”

Twaloloka committee members expressed their anger and disappointment.

"We have been here for five years and through all the years we have asked the town council to move us, to give each of us one plot, and now look at what happened. Parents have lost a child, people have lost everything and only have the clothes on their bodies. "Something needs to be done to assist our people and it needs to be done now," Birisamus said.

Police are investigating the origin of the fire.