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Plight of Angolan migrants worsens

2021-11-23  Festus Hamalwa

Plight of Angolan migrants worsens
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The poor living conditions of Angolan migrants, who are currently accommodated at Etunda in the Omusati region, have been worsened by unfavourable weather conditions. 

Migrants have been suffering since the onset of the rainy season, and also have to battle venomous creatures such as scorpions and snakes when it is windy.

Close to 4 000 Angolans fleeing unemployment, drought and hunger have been camping at Etunda since the beginning of the year.

They have moved into Namibia in search of jobs to harvest and thresh mahangu.

The first group arrived in Namibia in early March this year to escape hunger and drought from their original residences.

Since their arrival, more than 50 babies have been born.

When New Era visited them on Thursday, they stressed that their belongings such as clothes, food, blankets and beds always get wet due to the rain.

One of the migrants, Sika Sayiya, told New Era that when the rain starts falling, they usually go and sleep at cuca shops or at people’s houses in the area of Etunda because their camps are not constructed well to accommodate them when it is raining.

Sayiya added that their babies have also become the victims of the weather since they have no alternative ways of protecting them.

“Our babies are at a very big risk. Just imagine having a three-week-old baby sleeping in a camp under wet blankets,” she lamented.

The migrants are pleading with the Namibian government to assist them with shelter during the rainy days.

They are furthermore in need of clothes and food, as the food they get from good Samaritans finishes fast as their numbers grow by the day.

“We appreciate the Namibian government for continuously taking care of us ever since we came to Namibia,” they said.

Omusati governor Erginus Endjala said his office doesn’t have enough equipment and funds to build shacks for the refugees.

He explained that it will require a huge amount of money to build decent shelter for the migrants.

Therefore, he is pleading with the nation, business people and political leaders to join hands so that they assist the refugees with funds in order to build shacks and install proper sanitation for them.

“My office has noticed the poor living standards, as they are in a worse situation due to rain,” said Endjala. 

The governor said he tried multiple times to notify the Angolan government, but he didn’t receive any response from them on how to assist the refugees.

The Angolan embassy has not answered any questions or replied to requests for comment on the migrants’ situation.

-fhmalwa@nepc.com.na


2021-11-23  Festus Hamalwa

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