A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
A devastating fire broke out on 26 July 2020, affecting the Otweya informal settlement in Walvis Bay Rural Constituency, Erongo region. The fire resulted in the destruction of houses (shacks), leaving people homeless. The Walvis Bay Rural Constituency office has established that about 154 households/924 people are directly affected, with more than 150 houses destroyed. Walvis Bay Police reported that a boy aged 20 months died and his mother was also injured in the fire. The fire started at around 1900hrs and destroyed half of the shacks in the informal settlement with affected families losing everything ranging from food, shelter and other household belongings as they could hardly salvage anything. Indeed, the houses were mainly made of zinc sheets and cardboard boxes and other highly flammable materials which contributed to the scale of destruction. Some 46 additional families living in the informal settlement were not affected by the fire but had their structures removed to avoid spreading fire. As such, they could salvage the materials to rebuild their houses as well as their household items. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and investigations are underway.
Hundreds of people, including children, live in deplorable conditions at the Otweya informal settlement. The affected settlement is one of the main areas where positive COVID-19 cases have been reported and with the destructive fire, these households are now also displaced. Families were left without any shelter and are now relocated to a nearby site where they are accommodated in make-shift tents. The local government authorities are assessing exact damage caused by the fire.