Emergency camp for shack fire victims

Otis Daniels_Finck
Swakopmund • Erwin Leuschner

The number of shack fires along the central coast is increasing dramatically and as a result, the Swakopmund town council has decided to assist victims.

The most recent incident occurred on Friday in the DRC informal settlement in the town.

“It is alleged that the bed that a two-month-old boy was sleeping in in a bedroom, went up in flames while his parents were in the living room of the same shack,” Erongo police spokesman Erastus Iikuyu said.

The parents managed to extinguish the fire, but the baby was badly burned. He was taken to the state hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment.

The cause of the fire is unclear.

“The number of shack fires in Swakopmund and neighbouring towns has increased dramatically,” a council resolution reads. The shacks in DRC, Matutura and the ghettos in Mondesa are particularly affected.

“Fires are often caused by candles, stoves, lamps or illegal power connections,” the resolution continues.

For years, town council has been helping those affected by providing food, blankets and clothing. Now council has decided to set up an emergency camp where victims of shack fires can be temporarily housed while their homes are being rebuilt.

For this purpose, council in a draft resolution decided to purchase ten tents, 300 blankets and 200 mattresses valued at N$163 000. However, no mention is made of where the emergency camp will be set up.

An emergency camp was set up in Walvis Bay a few months ago, where residents of Twaloloka (now Otweya) are housed in tents after losing all their belongings in a fire that destroyed a large part of the informal settlement.