OMUTHIYA - The prevalent occurrences of train accidents involving human and motorists who reside in villages along the railway line in the northern part of Namibia have prompted communities of Oshifukwa and Okapuku villages to embark on a de-bushing campaign along the railway line.
Members of the Namibian police force from Omuthiya also participated in the exercise.
The concerned communities, who say they have lost a number of their relatives due to accidents involving trains, started the campaign on Saturday.
“We want to protect life and prevent any further deaths and injuries that lead to disability, that’s why we started this initiative in 2015 after realising that we were losing our loved ones as a result train accidents,” said community activist Kadholo Ya Kakwena, who is among the campaign’s front-runners.
“This was due to poor visibility caused by overgrown vegetation along the railway line.”
“We are still continuing this coming Saturday, therefore I am calling upon people within the surrounding areas to come in numbers so that we can clear a bigger area. In the same vein, I am calling upon other communities in Oshana and Ohangwena regions, where similar accidents occur, to organise themselves to de-bush in order to avoid and minimise any calamities. Since we started in 2015, we have minimised the number of accidents,” added Ya Kakwena, saying this year, two serious accidents were reported in the vicinities of Okapuku and Oshifukwa.
Ya Kakwena revealed that most accident victims are children and the elderly. “Some elderly people are short sighted, thus it is a challenge when there is overgrown vegetation as their vision is reduced,” he said.
He is further irked by the disregard and vandalism of signboards by community members, saying it puts visitors at risk, as they will not be aware there is a railway crossing ahead. He thus called upon parents to educate their children, while on that note, he appealed to TransNamib to erect warning signs at crossing areas where there is none.
“Our wish is for this programme to continue, people should not stop because the loss of life has long lasting impact in the community, therefore lets clean and continue saving lives. In future, I would like to see a more collaboration whereby the whole region can be involved to de-bush from Oshivelo to Ondangwa, this is for our own benefit, we cannot wait for TransNamib to do it, as we are the ones losing,” he stressed.