The Namibian Police chief, Sebastian Ndeitunga, described Angolan refugees’ situation as “unpleasant” during his visit to the Omusati region. “The situation needs to be attended to as soon as possible. It is very cold and the majority are small babies. They might get sick from the cold,” said Ndeitunga.
He added there are no ablution facilities, access to potable water or enough food to cater to them all.
Ndeitunga stated that most of the refugees do not want to go back to their country as their government last month requested. “They said the situation in Angola is worse, and they are not going anywhere,” he said. The first group arrived in Namibia in early March to escape hunger. Angolans living in the border provinces with
Namibia, the Cunene and Huila are experiencing food and water shortages due to persistent drought, with malnutrition widespread amongst these communities.
Last week, Omusati governor Erginus Endjala estimated the number of refugees at 2 383.
Since their arrival, 14 babies have been born at the camp.
The group includes expecting and lactating mothers as well as many children, who walked up to five days to cover over 100km before they arrived in Namibia.
Ndeitunga passed by the migrants camp when he accompanied the minister of home affairs, Albert Kawana, during the visit to the region to familiarise himself with services and operations on the ground on Monday.
According to Omusati governor Erginus Endjala, close to 3 000 Angolan migrants are now camping at Etunda and the situation is getting worse every day, as they are sneaking into the country as temperatures plummet.
“During the last meeting with the Angolan government, the migrants were briefed to go back home but the question is, where will
they pass altogether if the Angolan government has closed its borders,” asked Endjala.
He said all of them are reluctant to go, as they fear they might be exposed to worse conditions than those experienced at the camp.
One of the refugees, Sayiya Andonyo, told New Era that what brought them to Namibia is hunger and poverty – and they will not leave this country until their government finds a solution for their problems.
“Although we are not very happy with
the way we are living now, it is better than sleeping with an empty stomach. Our government has neglected us,” she said.
She added that if they did not make efforts to come to Namibian, most of them would have died of hunger.