9 January 2013

Namibia: Usakos Residents Angered By Death of Three Children

Residents of the Saamstaan informal settlement at Usakos are up in arms following the death of three children who perished in a fire on Sunday afternoon at the town.

The residents put the blame on the shoulders of the town council, saying the Usakos Town Council has failed to develop proper measures and strategies for fire and emergency responses in the informal settlement, which is not connected to the town's electrical grid.

On Monday a throng of angry residents marched to the offices of the town council with a petition in which they accuse the town's fire brigade of responding too late with an un-serviced truck and insufficient water, causing the makeshift home to burn to a cinder.

However, the chief executive officer of the Usakos Town Council, Gruzi Isaack Goseb, denied the allegations saying the fire brigade responded on time with a fully equipped fire truck. "Upon arrival the fire was already out of control. The firefighters did the best they could," he said.

He added that the fire had already spread to various parts of the shack and made it impossible for the fire brigade to save the children. It is believed that a candle caused the fire. The three children, two-year-old twins - a boy and girl and a three-year-old boy were left unattended in the home when the fire broke out.

According to the police the mother of the children was attending a church service when the incident happened. A 12-year-old boy who was also inside the shack when the fire broke out escaped unharmed.

"Claims that the fire brigade arrived late and unprepared are unfounded. Further, claims that other human lives were lost in other fires at the town are not true. So far we only had one incident that occurred in October last year, but no lives were lost," he said.

The mayor of Usakos, Gustav !Hoaeb already visited the family, Goseb said, adding that the council is committed to assisting the bereaved family. He appealed to the Usakos community to assist the family in any way possible.

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