Sun, 20 Sep 2020

WINDHOEK, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- When a devastating fire gutted Twaloloka informal settlement in Namibian coastal town Walvis Bay, Emma Gawises' dwelling was burned to ashes. About 153 shacks burned to the ground when a fire ravaged the settlement on July 26, affecting more than 1,000 dwellers.

"I was shattered and disgruntled. Homeless, I wondered what will become of us, from where we will eat," said Gawises, who lived in the informal settlement since 2016.

According to her, she didn't just lose a place she called home for years and belongings but hope too.

But charitable efforts by government and locals in Namibia are restoring hope for Twaloloka informal settlement dwellers.

"Individuals, companies and the government came to our aid. We are getting a lot of help, which gave me hope to a second chance at life," said Gawises, currently accommodated in a tent.

The Namibian government joint with the Red Cross Society of Namibia erected 108 tents, serving as temporary shelter for the inferno victims. Other items provided include food, clothing, utilities and necessities, amongst others.

Charitable efforts are coordinated on many levels by corporates and individuals across the country.

In the Namibian capital, Windhoek, Eenghoshi Bikers Club on Saturday held a charity run and mass ride for Twaloloka residents.

The club's administrator, Elina KaSmally Namupolo said that the initiative is driven by the member's conviction to make the world a better place by helping others.

According to Namupolo, about 30 members of the club paraded on bikes in different residential areas of Windhoek to raise awareness.

"We collected items in Windhoek and surrounding areas intended for the residents affected by the fire that burned down Twaloloka settlement," she said.

It is such efforts that provide console to the survivors such as Charlotte Kanuni, who too lost everything in the fire.

"It is not only about losing my belongings but much more than that. But knowing that people care is a form of counselling for us. I am no longer in despair, knowing that more companies and charitable people are opening their hearts to help us," said Kanunu.

Furthermore, on the side of government, aid towards the victims is coordinated through the National Disaster Risk Management Committee, according to Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, the executive director in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

"We received assistance and donations from private and corporate bodies in the national fund towards this course. This demonstrated solidarity and spirit of unity are commendable," said Namibian President Hage Geingob.

Meanwhile, the government is looking at undertaking more sustainable and progressive modalities to assist the victims. According to Muronga Haingura, an official from the Walvis Bay municipality, the land has been availed were 215 plots are being serviced to accommodate all affected households by mid-August this year.

"Currently, makeshift material used for building shacks are prone to fire. Thus our approach further aims to discourage the congestion and mushrooming of shacks to prevent another inferno," he said.

President Geingob said that government has also made resources available to assist dwellers.

"Building materials will be purchased by government for affected residents to accelerate the process of relocation," Geingob added.

Gawises and other dwellers said that this would be a welcome move.

"Decongested community would not only provide conducive shelter, but utilities that would help us sustain hygienic and safe community," she said.

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