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Namibian slum dwellers yearn for stable and reliable electricity

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- In the heart of overlapping shack dwellings in Havana informal settlement on the outskirts of Namibian capital Windhoek, Matheus Kambonde sells commodities ranging from fresh meat to tin products.

Kambonde employs eight people and plans to expand his business, but unstable power supply from the illegal electricity connections is proving to be a stumbling block to his dream.

“The unstable power supply leads to financial losses as goods are often left to rot,” he said.

This is a common tale for entrepreneurs in the shanty area.

“Last week, I had to dispose spoiled horse mackerel. But we have no choice, we have to earn a living,” said Herman Shetu, another trader in Havana.

Residents too are thwarted by the illegal electricity connections in the informal settlement. Paulina Puleni said that the electrical cables are often visible and may spark flames, which can be very dangerous.

“The illegal electricity connections are a safety risk that leads to death and fire, especially for children, who are playful and unaware of the dangers,” said Puleni.

As more people settle in shanty areas, more dwellers resort to illegal connections of electricity. Statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency indicated that an estimated 113,000 people of the total Windhoek population of 326,000 reside in informal settlements.

For electricity theft, fines could range from 4,000 to 12,000 Namibian dollars (310 to 930 U.S. dollars), an amount to big for the residents to pay, given their socio-economic situation.

There is now a growing call among the residents on government to connect the informal settlement to the national power grid.

“We are pleading with government to provide us with electricity, because we have a major challenge of access to electricity, especially for us business people. We are trying to contribute to the country’s economic growth but it is a big challenge,” said Kambonde.

The increase of electricity theft in informal settlement prompted the decision by City of Windhoek to install sub-stations. Also, plans are underway to respond to the needs for power supply to the informal settlements such as Havana.

City of Windhoek spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said that they will in due course start with the surveying of these areas before the actual installation electrification process starts.

“Electricity will definitely come to them. It’s just a matter of finalizing the preparatory process. It involves a lot of ground work in terms of mapping out and surveying the areas,” she said.

Amutenya added that similar sub-stations will be also installed in other informal settlements namely, Otjomuise’s Agste laan, Ongulumbashe, Okahandja Park and Kilimanjaro.

This has rekindled Kambonde’s hope of expanding his business venture and better business prospective.

“This will bring an end to my food items getting spoiled, and will translate to improved profit margins,” he said.



UNESCO calls for robust investment in Namibia’s education sector

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- UNESCO Representative to Namibia Jean Pierre Ilboudo on Friday called for robust investment towards the education sector in Namibia.

Ilboudo called on the Namibian government to foster investment towards the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially through goal 4, which calls for inclusive quality education and promotion of lifelong learning.

Ilboudo made the remarks during a meeting reflecting on the 2016 Global Education Monitoring report and consultation on UNESCO Education Programme and Budget held in Windhoek.

According to Ilboudo, the report argues that chronic under-funding for education is holding back progress towards the realization of the sustainable development goals; hence, more domestic resources are needed to achieve the sustainable development goals.

“In addition, aid to education is declining and not effectively targeting those in need, as allocations of funds and resources from partners are based on trade relations,” he said.

This, according to Iloudo, calls for a radical financial break, especially in low and middle income countries including Namibia with an upper middle income status, to mobilize domestic resources, to build on education across the board, to tackle challenges urgently and holistically.

“We therefore need renewed focus and resources for education to prevent us from being half a century late in achieving the global education commitments,” he urged.

To enhance livelihoods of its citizens and as part of its commitment towards the implementation of the SDGs, Namibia has ratified relevant international conventions and is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Human wildlife conflict in Namibia on the increase: official

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia’s human wildlife conflict is on the increase with a total of seven lives lost this year since January, according to the environment ministry.

In a statement on Friday the ministry said the latest incident was that of a man, Lourens Hindjou, who was killed on Tuesday at Omungambu village near Omatjete in Daures Constituency, Erongo region.

“Sadly, the incidents of human wildlife conflict are on the increase in areas where elephants are prevalent especially in Erongo region where desert adapted elephants leave their habitats mainly in the Ugab area in search of food and water,” the statement read.

According to the ministry, from time to time, elephants wander into villages and the conflicts tend to occur.

The ministry said it will continue to ensure that conflicts between humans and wildlife is reduced.

The ministry cautioned the public, especially those that reside in conservancy areas and communities where there are elephants or any dangerous predators, to always be vigilant and avoid walking at night in the bush.

Furthermore, the ministry appealed to tourists to refrain from using drones and taking pictures at very close range to the elephants.

Since the unfortunate incident was reported, the ministry said the elephant was tracked and put down on Thursday as it was declared a problem animal. 


One dies of Congo fever, five medical personnel quarantined in Namibia

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- One person has died of Congo fever in Namibia while four nurses and a doctor who attended to the patient are under observation.

The country’s health ministry said Friday in a statement that the man aged 26 died on Feb. 22 after he had been admitted at Gobabis State Hospital about 200 kilometers from capital Windhoek.

According to the statement, the man was first treated and sent back home for tick bite that caused him to cough and feverish as well as causing diarrhea on Feb. 18.

Two days later, the ministry said, the man was brought back to the hospital and was at the time vomiting blood.

“The patient was treated for upper GI bleeding. The clinician suspected tick borne hemorrhagic fever. Blood specimen for yellow fever were taken and processed following universal precautions procedures,” the statement said.

The man’s body that was buried on the same day when he died was disinfected with hypochlorite and sealed in two body bags, the statement said.

After the man’s death, the health ministry interviewed the family members and the man’s employer to identify any possible causes.

“Four nurses and one doctor that were in close contact with without personal protective equipment have been quarantined and are being monitored,” the statement said.



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