• December 2nd, 2020

Govt to airlift over 200 stranded in SA

Government will evacuate over 200 citizens from neighbouring South Africa, where confirmed Covid-19 cases have hit over 4 500 and 87 deaths as at yesterday afternoon. Air Namibia will carry out the mission, its spokesperson Paul Nakawa confirmed yesterday. 

Nakawa said government would provide the funds to repatriate the stranded 228 people. According to him, Air Namibia is currently in discussion with the ministry to devise a plan on the repatriation of these Namibians. The agreed plan would entail the details of execution, including the date and capacity to be supplied for this purpose. 

“Although normal operations are temporarily suspended, Air Namibia remains available to offer air transport through charter flights for humanitarian purposes, as well as to airlift pharmaceutical supplies, consumables and all other essential needs,” he maintained. 

At present, he announced, all regional and domestic flights are suspended until 5 May, whereas the Windhoek-Frankfurt operations are extended until 17 May. 

“All charter operations are subject to approval being granted by all relevant authorities,” he said. International relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah last week said the Namibian mission in South Africa recorded a total number of 228 Namibians who are in that country and want to come home. She said these Namibians are in various categories. 

Maika Eysselein, a mother of a two-year-old son who went for heart operation in Cape Town mid-March before the lockdown, is one such person stuck in that country and wants to return home.  Eysselein, with the assistance of Michaela Tietz-von Leipzig, who is a founder of Okanti Foundation in Windhoek, is busy raising funds to assist many other Namibians stranded in South Africa to return home.

Tietz-von Leipzig said they are trying to assist close to 90 Namibians in South Africa who have indicated they want to return home. Tietz-von Leipzig noted they are in consultation with the Namibian High Commission in South Africa regarding these arrangements.

 Tietz-von Leipzig and her family started reaching out for assistance in repatriation more than three weeks ago. She said they need to raise an amount of N$380 000 to pay airlines for these passengers. 

She said Good Samaritans have since come on board and donated a collective amount of N$280 000.

Tietz-von Leipzig explained approximately N$180 000 is needed for the flight from Cape Town and N$200 000 for the flight from Johannesburg. Asked yesterday if funds are enough, she responded, “If Air Namibia brings all other Namibians home free of charge, we have enough funds for two planned flights (one from Cape Town; one from Johannesburg) that need payment. If not, it is not yet enough for all that cannot pay a flight ticket home.”

She said they had a truly wonderful response from the Namibian public and Namibians living abroad, saying she is most grateful for all donations. 

“The #GetUsHome# fundraiser’s objective to assist financially in repatriation of one group in Cape Town and one group in Johannesburg is well on its way to being achieved. We are waiting in anticipation as the last of the many necessary repatriation documents are cleared for departure of the Cape Town flight and are hopeful that the Johannesburg group may arrive in Windhoek soon too,” she said.

– anakale@nepc.com.na 

Albertina Nakale
2020-04-28 10:04:18 | 7 months ago


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