9 November 2012

Namibia: Community Initiates Disaster Committee

Windhoek — Residents of Moses //Garoëb Constituency are planning a disaster risk emergency committee that will collect materials such as corrugated iron and zinc for distribution to residents who lose their homes and belongings in shack fires. This follows a number of shack fires in the constituency this year.

The councillor of Moses //Garoëb Constituency Martin David said he met with the community last week to discuss how they are going to "come up with the committee".

"Last week Thursday we meet with the community, and we suggested that the committee have more than six members. We did not discuss more because we are going to meet again to finalise the idea," said David.

David noted that the committee will not only focus on shack fires but also other "disasters" that occur in the constituency.

The councillor stressed that shack fires are a problem in his constituency - and only last Friday, for example, a man in his late 30s was burnt beyond recognition after the shack he was sleeping in caught fire.

Also last Saturday and Monday this week, two shacks caught fire and residents' property were destroyed.

"Last weekend I personally donated bags of maize meal to the two families who lost their properties because they were left with nothing after their shacks caught fire," said David.

Residents of Havana informal settlement have appealed to the Windhoek Municipality to set up a fire-brigade sub-station in the fire-prone area to minimise the damage being caused by shack fires.

Residents made the appeal recently after a shack in the informal settlement once again went up in flames destroying all the valuables.

Residents complain that the response from the municipal fire brigade is normally slow.

The shack of Gabes Malenei and his girlfriend Veronica Uukule caught fire while he was at work and the girlfriend was having her hair done at a salon in the area.

Mungongi Sackaria who stays in Havana said the fire-brigade "always turns up late and that causes a loss of citizens' property".

"Those people are always late. They do nothing because they always find residents extinguishing the fire. They need to set up fire-brigade depots in the informal settlements to secure property and respond quickly, as soon as possible," he said.

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