A family from Windhoek's Hakahana Residential Area, who lost their national documents in a shack fire this month, were issued with new national documents at no cost by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security in Windhoek.

Recalling the ordeal which happened on Independence Day, 33-year-old Fransina Hamunyela says no one was at home at the time of the fire.

They lost most of their belongings and documents in the blaze.

"On the 21st of March at 7 o'clock, we experienced a fire. We don't even know the cause of the fire as there was no one home. We just received a call from the neighbors that our house was on fire. By the time they started putting out the fire, it was too late. Nothing was retrieved, everything went up in flames - the children's documents, my documents, clothes, everything. Even my child's new school uniforms and stationery, everything burnt to ashes."

These are the only burnt national documents and taxi fare that she was able to retrieve from the ashes.

Another victim, 22-year-old Selma Kainda, says the incident has really set her back, as she is already struggling to make ends meet.

"Everything was burnt and I had my mom's death certificate in there because I lost her last September and I had it, they all burnt, my brother's documents cause I also had it. Nothing survived of what we had on our bodies."

The family lost eight birth certificates, three IDs, and one death certificate, which would have cost them one thousand-and-50 dollars to renew.

However, they say they can't afford this amount as they are trying to get back on their feet.

This prompted the Ministry of Home Affairs to register them under the mass registration of national documents program, which exempted them from paying for any national document.

"After we learned that, we contacted the family and we told them to come to the ministry so we can issue them with the national documents. This also ties in a way with the current mass registration for national documents. As a ministry, we feel deeply sorry for the family and we feel that since we are mandated for mass registration, we conducted the family urgently so that they can come and we can issue them with the documents without them having to spend because we also see that some of their money burnt and it's heartbreaking."

For now, the family is living in a makeshift structure at their plot, sleeping on mattresses donated by the City of Windhoek.

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NBC Digital News


July Nafuka