by Charmaine Ngatjiheue and Wilka Kayoka

THE government has announced plans to decongest the Khomas region’s sprawling shacks to ease the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Havana informal settlement in Windhoek. Photo: Nampa/File

Minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni has revealed this yesterday, saying plans were afoot to identify an area where residents can be relocated to with sufficient amenities.

“We have requested local authorities to try their level best to identify areas to help the process of decongestion. The City of Windhoek has been tasked with that as well, and it is our hope that they have identified a location. I am waiting to be briefed on this,” he said.

Khomas regional governor Laura Mcleod-Katjirua during an update on the region’s response to Covid-19 confirmed the ambitious plan.

“This would benefit the densely populated informal settlements for urgent implementation to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 as per the latest directive of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development,” she said.

McLeod-Katjirua could, however, not reveal the number of beneficiaries.
“We have been requested and directed to draw up a plan which will include how many people would benefit and where they would be relocated to,” she said.

Mcleod-Katjirua said the major challenge faced by the region is that the bulk of shacks are on unserviced land.

“We hope to have access to services such as water and sanitation . . . The region has further deployed more health workers at public-targeted testing and screening facilities to accelerate our essential Covid-19 service delivery obligation,” she said.

300 ISOLATION BEDS NEEDED

Meanwhile, the Khomas region needs 300 more beds for isolation purposes, the governor said.

She said the region has identified new isolation facilities, including four which are hospital-based with a bed capacity of 79.

“Despite the above-mentioned available facilities, there is still a pending need for 300 more beds for isolation purposes,” she said.

The region also has seven non-healthcare facilities with 134 beds, and are currently in negotiations to obtain three more isolation facilities with 68 beds.

Moreover, the region has 28 quarantine facilities with a bed capacity of roughly 400.

Two shelters have been identified for the homeless, accommodating 419 people in total.

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