WALVIS BAY – Rehoboth mayor Enrico Junius was airlifted for urgent medical attention to South Africa yesterday morning after he sustained serious injuries in a veld fire.
This was confirmed by Rehoboth Town Council spokesperson Desire Pieters to New Era yesterday.
According to Pieters, the mayor’s condition is critical.
Junius, a farm owner in the Rehoboth district, along with other farmers were trying to contain a fire after an outbreak, about 40 kilometres outside Rehoboth on the Tsumis road.
“The mayor’s farm is in that vicinity, and he wanted to assist in fighting the fire,” she added.
As a result, he was badly injured in the fire.
Pieters explained that Junius was initially treated at a hospital in Windhoek, but his condition deteriorated and he was airlifted to South Africa.
“This is the first time we have dealt with a fire of this magnitude,” she noted.
Junius and another burn victim, who has not been named, were flown to Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa by helicopter.
Farmers from the surrounding areas and residents of Rehoboth rushed to the scene yesterday to assist where they could.
Pieters called for further assistance to aid the fire-fighters. “At this stage, we need help, any help. The fire is still on,” she said when New Era spoke to her yesterday morning.
This was also confirmed by Mariental’s chief fire and emergency safety officer Dirk Cloete, who was at the scene.
“A factor that’s prolonging the fire is that we have only few people who are assisting us. I ask for people in Windhoek to come and give a helping hand,” he pleaded.
According to Cloete, it would take much longer to fully extinguish the flames. Therefore, he asks for volunteers to aid the team fighting the fire with food and water.
Pieters then called for a national campaign to ensure such fires never happen again.
“A national campaign should be started with the ministry of environment and tourism to educate our citizens on the possible causes and dangers of such fires.”
Currently, the town of Rehoboth is on its way to construct its own fire station after the town council had approved their budget.
Approximately N$4 million was allocated for the project that is meant to reduce the unemployment rate in Rehoboth and combat veld fires such as this.
The fire station is expected to be fully operational in February 2023.