Namibia: New Homes for Fire Victims... 215 Plots Planned for Twaloloka Residents

3 August 2020

Walvis Bay — The Walvis Bay municipality says they are exploring the possibility of using a piece of land, belonging to the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and which was earlier identified for temporary decongestion, to permanently resettle the residents of Twaloloka.

CEO of the Walvis Bay municipality Muronga Haingura yesterday said discussions are currently underway to make the move permanent by setting up proper structures for the residents whose shacks were destroyed a week ago by the devastating fire, which claimed the life of a 20-month-old toddler.

"Initially, we wanted the residents to move over with their own structures but with the devastating fire destroying their livelihoods, exposing them to the same situation does not make sense. Hence, we are looking at setting up more permanent structures at this stage," he explained. He said the move will only be possible if the NHE agrees to the idea and also accepts another

piece of land in return.

Haingura said several companies have already come forward with structures and will build show houses on some plots on the land adjacent to where the fire victims are being accommodated in tents.

Haingura added they will commence with the demarcation of individual plots once earthworks are completed on the block of land opposite Twaloloka.

He also explained the settlement did not previously have proper spacing, which is also one of the reasons the fire spread rapidly.

"Therefore, we are going to avail more spacing of not less than 300 square metres per individual unit at the identified site. Thus, according to our layout plan, [we] will provide about 215 plots," said Haingura.

He added they will still be able to address the initial decongestion plan of the remaining shacks that did not burn, as well as the initial number of people who were expected to be temporarily relocated.

"We are also servicing the two identified sites at Farm 37 to where others will be relocated too," he said.

President Hage Geingob on Friday also said government will provide aid with building material to the residents of the Twaloloka, to accelerate the relocation process of 154 families that were left homeless a week ago, after a devastating fire ravaged through the informal settlement.

"I have to admit that this incident has hit at my core - not as a leader; not as a politician, but as a human being. What happened at Twaloloka is something that affects the human conscience, as we witnessed a community that was already among the worst affected by the pandemic, grappling with unspeakable loss and pain," the president said on Friday.

Geingob then explained government has availed financial resources from the National Emergency Disaster Fund to temporarily re-block Twaloloka and relocate half of the inhabitants to a different location.

Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfred said they are currently fast-tracking the process to allow those currently accommodated in tents to be moved as soon as possible.

Apart from the relocation of Twaloloka residents, 500 residents would be relocated to Farm 37, while 192 families will move to another piece of land owned by the Walvis Bay municipality.

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