WALVIS BAY – Walvis Bay is currently a hive of activity as consignments of food, mattresses, clothes and other basic essentials are arriving at the town to aid the residents of Twaloloka who lost everything during a devastating fire on Sunday evening.
A consignment of food and mattresses also arrived yesterday from the Office of the Prime Minister, while politcal parties such as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) also donated food and blankets to the residents.
The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) donated N$50 000 to the fire victims who are currently being accommodated in tents, while a temporary site is being prepared for their relocation.
Erongo governor Neville Andre yesterday said that while the damage is being assessed by the relevant authorities, the well-being of the residents is of immediate concern.
“Some school hostels have been made available while the Red Cross Society of Namibia has offered 50 tents and food. The local security cluster and my office together also made seven tents available,” he said.
He added that the environment and agriculture ministries also donated large quantities of meat to the fire victims.
Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfred said they are currently fast-tracking the relocation of Twaloloka residents to the newly identified area. He added that all the tents will be moved by this week to a temporary site to allow council to service the land that will accommodate the residents of Twaloloka.
“This area will have the necessary basic services such as water and ablution facilities available. We also want to do it as soon as possible as our people cannot sleep in tents this long as we also are dealing with Covid-19,” Wilfred explained.
Wilfred urged everyone that is making contributions and donations to the fire victims to do so through the office of the governor, the office of the mayor, both Walvis Bay Rural and Urban constituency offices or drop off items at the fire station in Kuisebmond where all donations are being recorded.
“This will make sure that all donations are accounted for,” he said. He also urged Namibians not to dilute the well-thought gestures with politics as there is no time to do anything for political gain.
“Our people are in need and we should rather help them in unity as we are not only dealing with the fire but are also facing Covid-19 that affects the same community. Let us use this opportunity and help them instead of blaming each other,” Wilfred appealed.
Marius Muefudhana, who is currently coordinating the donations at the fire station, yesterday told New Era that the response from local residents themselves is overwhelming as people are flocking from all corners to drop off whatever they can give.
“It is amazing to see how people come – one can see they also don’t have much but they are willing to share the little they have,” he said.
A group of young boys who were also at the fire station told New Era that they felt it necessary to come and volunteer their services too.
One of them, Rodney Haraseb, said they are doing it because they are part of the community and even though they cannot make financial contributions, they can help with the offloading and packing of donations that are brought to the fire station.
“It is just our way of saying that we feel for our fellow residents and we are with them in this difficult time,” Haraseb said.
Warning of Twaloloka scam
Meanwhile, the Namibian police warned Namibians to only make donations through the official channels to avoid being scammed. According to police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, law enforcement agencies have observed several notices circulating on social media of donations, hence Namibians should be on alert as some individuals will use this as an opportunity to scam others.
“The Namibian police would like to warn the public to be on alert as initiatives like these are proven to have room for potential scams. Habitual criminals are and may be using this situation to rob the good-hearted and sympathetic Namibians of their hard-earned money and properties in the name of the Twaloloka victims. Therefore we encourage the nation to make sure that whatever items or money any person intends to donate is done through known, verified and credible sources,” she said.