OMUTHIYA – Community members of Okapuku village on Saturday cleared bushes along the Tsumeb-Ondangwa railway track to help mitigate accidents caused by reduced visibility.
It has been reported that more than seven fatal accidents have occurred in the area over the past few years, where livestock and human lives were lost.
The latest accident happened in August this year.
In some cases, cars cross the tracks without being aware that trains are approaching, leading to collisions.
TransNamib said earlier this year about 20% of train accidents are due to the public not adhering to the rules and regulations, and 60% is the old rolling stock as well as the railway infrastructure that has not been maintained at the level it was supposed to.
On Saturday, the community managed to clear up a stretch of 2 kilometres with the assistance of TransNamib employees.
Immanuel Shitaleni, TransNamib station manager of Ondangwa and Oshikango, said they appreciate the initiative by the community.
“We wish to see this exercise becoming a regular thing to be emulated by all living in villages in the proximity of the railway line, so that visibility can be enhanced and accidents avoided. For now, it is really a great risk,” he told New Era.
Shitaleni said they are ready to assist the community with equipment and machinery needed for the cleaning exercise.
Meanwhile, community member Paulus Shikambe said this was an initiative by the local people, which they turned into a yearly exercise by volunteering.
The first clean up took place once last year.
“We decided to take it upon ourselves, considering how we are affected. Waiting for TransNamib alone to clear the railway line will take forever; therefore, as people, we need to meet them halfway. Death has become a regular issue due to accidents. It is a great loss when people die, yet we have the power to change such events,” he said.
Visibility… Community members of the Okapuku village, clearing bushes along the railway tracks to avoid further accidents caused by reduced visibility.
Photo: Obrein Simasiku