Namibia: Authorities Wary of Taking in More Refugees

If more refugees or asylum seekers are received at the Osire refugee camp, they would exert more pressure on the available resources.

This was said by the country director of the Society for Family Health, Taimi Amaambo, during yesterday's discussion on the Osire village settlement preparedness for Covid-19 in Windhoek.

Amaambo added that providing services to such a diverse community also requires more expertise like being able to communicate information on the virus to the people.

"We are talking about a community from different countries predominantly from DRC and they speak a different language, so we need to be able to speak to them in a language they understand," she said.

Speaking on the Covid-19 response plan, Amaambo said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had provided close to N$1 million to the settlement to ensure the plan is implemented.

The resources will go to support the clinic and the school. There are currently 1 500 pupils at the settlement.

Osire camp hosts refugees from countries such as Angola, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The camp consists of a clinic, school and a police station.

Deputy director of refugees programme management in the ministry of home affairs Venantius Nauyoma said since Namibia's borders were closed in March, no new refugees had been received, however, this could change when the borders open.

"While receiving them during this time of Covid-19, we have to ensure that guidelines as recommended by health professionals should be followed at all times," he said.

Nauyoma said they normally receive an estimated 30 refugees per month. He further said if refugees were to come into the country, although there are facilities to detect the virus, the lack of isolation centres would present a problem.

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