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NamPower denies reckless dumping of ash

2023-01-12  Loide Jason

NamPower denies reckless dumping of ash

The Ministry of Mines and Energy confirmed that the hot ashes that burned women in the area of Okahandja Park in Windhoek, came from dumped burnt coal.

 Veronica Hashondili, an Okahandja Park resident, suffered multiple third-degree injuries covering her left leg from the foot to the knee, from such coal ash. 

She got burnt while she was collecting firewood behind NamPower’s Van Eck station in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial area on Sunday. 

NamPower said their coal ashes are stored and managed within their premises. 

The company’s acting managing director confirmed NamPower was notified by the Namibian Police about the incident involving the two women. 

“NamPower has, jointly with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, as well as the Namibian Police on Monday, 9 January 2023, visited the site where the incident occurred,” said the company in response to questions sent to them.

However, it denied that the ashes are from the coal in the power station. 

“NamPower does not dispose of its ash from the Van Eck Power Station at the said site. Ash from the power station from the burning of coal is stored and managed at the NamPower Van Eck Power Station premises,” acting managing director Kandali Iiyambo said.

Although onlookers on the scene suspected and linked the steaming ash to a volcano, Andreas Simon, the spokesperson of the energy ministry said the result shows that it is coal ashes that are being dumped there.

“Our geological team have taken the sample and is confirmed to be coal, not a volcano as onlookers speculated. It is just coal ashes which is chemical that was dumped there,” said Simon. 

He referred all further questions to NamPower because the site is near their power station.

The 55-year-old Hashondili and two other women were fetching firewood when they stepped on the smouldering white ashes and burnt. 

The ash also caused minor injuries to Tresia Shimpanda who rescued Hashondili while Beata Paulus sustained no injuries. 

The injured women were taken to the hospital.

 “While I was on my way to fetch wood, I just fell and started burning. I screamed and called my fellow wood collectors to rescue me. They saved my life, although one also sustained a minor burn,” Hashondili explained.

She further added that when they have been collecting wood for the past eight years, they observed white ashes but did not know it was hot.

2023-01-12  Loide Jason

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