Namibia — A VELD fire that raged across the Otjozondjupa Region last week destroyed grazing on six farms and claimed the lives of at least two people.
The farms of Sport Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo and Health Minister Richard Kamwi were among those affected, with media reports estimating that 30 000 hectares of farmland was lost to the fire.
Kazenambo told The Namibian on Wednesday that 95 per cent of his 7 200-hectare farm was burnt, and he suffered losses of cattle and wildlife.
He said the owner of a neighbouring farm, Ben Handura, and one of his farmworkers died in the fire.
Kazenambo said Handura and the farmworker sustained serious burns while trying to extinguish the fire and were admitted to hospital at Grootfontein, from where they were transferred to the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek. Handura died on Friday and the farmworker on Sunday.
Kazenambo confirmed that Kamwi’s farm had also burned. According to media reports the Health Minister suffered damage to the tune N$2,2 million on his farm.
Kazenambo could not confirm the origin of the fire, but said that according to preliminary investigations it started at a charcoal-burning operation on a farm adjacent to Kamwi’s.
Kazenambo said the total damage caused by the fire runs into the millions, but stressed that the loss of human life was the ultimate tragedy.
“My heartfelt condolences go to the families of my neighbour and his worker, and if there was any other loss of life, then my condolences also go to their families,” Kazenambo said.
Earlier media reports said three people had died in the fire, but Kazenambo could only confirm the deaths of Handura and his employee.