18 June 2019

Namibia: Family Pleads for Help After Shack Burns Down

A woman and her 13-year-old daughter, who were left homeless on 5 May when their shack was destroyed by a fire at Evululuko informal settlement, Oshakati, are in dire straits.

Fiina Andjendja said the cause of the fire was unclear, but she suspects a phone battery exploded, resulting in the items in the shack catching fire and the structure burning to the ground.

The shack had three rooms - a kitchen, sitting room and a sleeping room which Andjendja shared with her daughter Maria Tjaera.

The self-employed mother of two, sells tomatoes on the side of the road for a living. She visited The Namibian last week, tearfully recounting the calamity and pleading for assistance.

The Namibian accompanied Andjendja to her decimated shack and found Tjaera sleeping in one of the structures Andjendja said they had been given by their neighbours for shelter.

There was also an extra structures which they had turned into a mini kitchen. On the day the shack burned down, Andjendja said she had gone to church and Tjaera had gone to play at the neighbours.

She says although the neighbours called the firefighters, "it was too late when they arrived" and all their belongings, valued at close to N$100 000, had been destroyed in the inferno.

"Everything we owned was burned in the fire. Our beds, fridge, stove, TV, solar panel and inverter, food, pots, utensils, our clothes, to mention a few, were all lost in the fire," Andjendja explained.

While they are grateful for the assistance by the neighbours, Andjendja said they offer little protection from the cold at night.

Oshana regional police spokesperson Frieda Shikole confirmed the incident.

"Two cameras, two cellphones, a double bed, two single beds and a kitchen cabinet including all plates, cups and bread toasters, one gas stove and three sofas which were in the living room, school certificates all burned in the fire," Shikole said.

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