• October 1st, 2020

Karasburg school counts losses after fire incident

Steven Klukowski

KARASBURG – The //Kharas regional education directorate is counting losses after the boys’ hostel at Ernst Jager Combined School was destroyed by fire last week. //Kharas education director /Awebahe
||Hoeseb said he has been informed about the incident by the relevant circuit inspector, who also indicated to him that the 137 learners at the school were able to escape from the premises without any injuries.

“Losses, however, suffered during the fire include 100 beds and mattresses, as well as 80 lockers,” he explained. ||Hoeseb further elaborated that the 60 boys who lived on the top floor of the hostel
premises lost all their personal belongings and textbooks, as they were forced to rush out for safety.
“We heard one of the boys screaming round about 05h45 that particular Monday morning, but thought it was out of the excitement of the end of the school semester,” said Martha Afrikaner, the school
principal. She continued that it was upon further investigation that they discovered the fire but could not explain the cause. Although the fire was under control, it was still smouldering by then, with smoke
observed in some of the rooms when New Era visited the scene.

The regional director further indicated that several remediating recommendations have been forwarded to the //Kharas regional management to address the situation. Amongst them is that both the
girls (gutted last year) and boys’ hostels should be closed down for the remainder of the 2020 academic year or after it has been renovated/repaired, in such a manner to be fit for human occupation.
In light of that parents, guardians or caregivers should then be informed to secure alternative accommodation for these learners for the interim period.

Another recommendation was that staff members at the hostels should be redeployed temporarily at other school hostels in Karasburg.
Furthermore, a forensic investigation should be launched by the Namibian Police to determine the possible causes of the fire. In addition, an assessment of structural damages resulting from the fire should be
carried out.

In a communique that New Era obtained, one of the concerned parents in Karasburg claimed no police investigations were carried out when the girls’ hostel burned down at the end of the last school semester
in 2019. The parent further alleged they were informed by the regional education director that no resources would be availed from government to rebuild the hostel for the next five years. It went on that 40 girls
are now forced to use one toilet due to the regional council’s unwillingness to assist them with temporary toilets.
– sklukowski@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-03-23 10:19:24 | 6 months ago

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