Shack fire victims in need of help

Food and clothes donated

22 June 2020 | Disasters

Roleen de Klerk; Victim; “Right now, we don’t have a place to stay and it is windy.”

Swakopmund · [email protected]

Victims of a shack fire that took place in Mondesa on Friday have called on the municipality of Swakopmund to assist.

Roleen de Klerk and her boyfriend Erastus Nelongo lost all their belongings when their shack burnt down and were left stranded after the disaster.

“The flames consumed our television, fridge, all our clothes and important documents. Right now, we don’t have a place to stay and it is windy. We are sleeping outside, next to our burned down homes. There is no other place we can sleep and we will remain here until the municipality gives us notice on how they can assist,” De Klerk said.

According to Nelongo, De Klerk told him that she could smell something burning outside.

“I went to investigate. A group of girls approached me asking for help and told me that a fire had started at the neighbouring house. Since the wind was strong, the fire spread rapidly to the other shacks. The fire brigade came late, only arriving after an hour and half,” he said.

More than 35 people (adults and children) have been affected by the devastating fire.

Donations asked

Meanwhile, Joel Nambuli who is the lead singer of a cappella group African Vocals, mobilised residents via Facebook to donate in kind to the people affected by the fire.

“We collected donations consisting of clothes and food from residents of Swakopmund. People were really helpful,” he said.
Nambuli said his motivation stemmed from the desperate economic times further worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Lots of people are losing their jobs. People have been affected by the lockdown and then they lose whatever they have in a fire. It is a big blow.”

One of the beneficiaries, Jeremia Nanapo, expressed his gratitude towards the donors who pledged to help.

“Thank you very much. My family has lost all our belongings. I feel much better now. It will help a bit for the time being,” he said.

The Swakopmund Community Engagement Group (SCEG) intends to approach external stakeholders to see how they can assist the shack fire victims further.

The group said it will engage the municipality to make sure that a tent is set up for the affected people.

According to NamPol’s regional crime investigation coordinator, deputy commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, the fire allegedly started in a backyard shack at house number 2169 in Robbie Savage Street at noon on Friday. He said that the cause of the fire is unknown.

Second fire

Iikuyu confirmed that there were no injuries sustained in another fire incident which took place on Saturday at approximately 19:00 in Mondesa.

The fire allegedly started at one of three shacks located in close proximity to Ongulumbashe Street and eventually consumed the other two shacks too.

Part of the main house on the property was also damaged by the fire. Iikuyu said that the cause of this fire and the value of damage suffered was not yet determined.

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