KUNENE – Four people including a premature baby died when a ministry of health vehicle was washed away in a stream of raging water in the Kunene region on Friday evening. The tragedy occurred some six kilometres north east of Opuwo.
The car had allegedly gone to collect a mother and her new born premature baby at the Epupa clinic when tragedy struck. The accident was preceded by heavy rains in the area.
Those who perished in the accident include the ambulance driver, the mother and her baby as well as the baby’s grandmother who was accompanying them to the hospital.
Five other people including an unconfirmed number of nurses survived the accident.
Speaking on behalf of the police in Kunene, Inspector Karipire Ruiter said preliminary information from the sources who witnessed the accident scene alleged that the driver was in a hurry. Ruiter recalled he found other drivers waiting for the water to go down before they could cross, but the driver allegedly took the risk resulting in the car being washed away.
The Executive Director in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Ben Nangombe commended the health workers who accompanied the patients and extended condolences to the bereaved families.
“I take this opportunity to commend our health workers who put their lives on the line in the service of the nation,” said Nangombe.
Nangombe was speaking at the press conference at Onandjokwe on Saturday.
Nangombe said the bodies of the deceased were recovered with the help of the police, community and the Opuwo Town Council fire department.
Photo: Selma Gumbo
*Selma Gumbo is an Information Officer working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kunene region*
Additional reporting by Nuusita Ashipala