18 April 2018

Namibia: Fear Grips Babylon As Flood Kills Mother

THE baby who survived when his mother died and brother went missing in Windhoek when a flood swept away their shack, turns four days today.

The baby has been admitted in the Katutura Intermediate hospital.

Saima Thomas (32), died when the shack in which she lived with her partner Nehemia Shindenge (31) and two sons in the Havana informal settlement was swept away by a flood on Monday.

The police recovered Thomas' body about two kilometres from Babylon in Havana. Her son, Jason Shindenge, was still missing by yesterday afternoon.

The Namibian could not talk to Shindenge yesterday about how he and the baby had survived.

Chief inspector Kauna Shikwambi told The Namibian late yesterday that police were still searching for the missing boy.

Nehemia's cousin, Monde Leonard, told The Namibian that the shack was erected between two streams, and that may have been the reason why it was swept away.

Leonard described Thomas as a quiet and "very good" woman, and that her death at only 32 was painful.

"It is not easy to lose two people at the same time," Leonard said, adding that the family was waiting for the police to find Jason's body before making funeral arrangements.

Some residents who live in the same area yesterday, said it was just a matter of time before lives were lost. They also said that if the rains continued, their turn to drown could also come.

Johanna Kasape Uunona (40) could not help but think that if the rain continues then, they too would either die or lose homes.

"This is what we are all expecting to happen. Our homes will all end up in the sewage pond in Hakahana," Uunona said.

She added that as much as it is heartbreaking to lose all one's belongings, she wished the lives of the mother and her son were spared.

Another Havana resident, who lives a stone's throw away from where Thomas' body was found, told The Namibian that the incident made them realise that they too may not be safe in their shacks.

The woman, who just wanted to be identified as Ndinatate, said she never experienced anything like what happened to Thomas since she moved to Havana in 2011.

Ndinatate said in the past, they had experienced living under leaking roofs, sleeping on wet bedding and wet mattresses, and even flooded shacks, but not a shack was ever washed away from Babylon to Havana.

Helvi Kamati (28) said it was saddening that Thomas left behind a four-day-old son.

"Imagine having to die like that without even breastfeeding your child. It is sad," Kamati said.

Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua yesterday said council had sent City Police officers to the area to investigate what had transpired, and to report back to the local authority.

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