Homeless man freezes to death

June 5, 2015, 8:53am

Homeless man freezes to death

Police have urged relatives of people living on the streets to urgently give them a place to stay, after a homeless man froze to death and weather experts predicted that an even more intense cold front will hit Namibia in a few days.
Matheus Guidao-Oab, 29, froze to death in Outjo on Tuesday morning, as the country continues to suffer in the grip of icy temperatures.
Otjozondjupa Police Head of Operations, Deputy Commissioner Moses Khairabeb, said it was suspected that the man died of exposure after sub-zero temperatures were recorded at the town and in other parts of Namibia.
Richard Nashikaku, from the Namibia Metrological Weather Service, warned that from next week Tuesday and Wednesday more cold weather will be on its way to Namibia and it will be much colder than it was this week.
According to him sub-zero temperatures can be expected in the south and central high ground areas, as well as in the eastern parts of the country.
Nashikaku warned that people should stay warm and added that livestock farmers should prepare for the cold front.
This week saw a severe drop in temperatures across the country, with the plunge causing thousands to reach for extra warmth at night and in the wee hours of the morning.
According to Khairabeb, Guidao-Oab was an orphan and was known to wander between Outjo and Kamanjab, where his brother lived.
He was found by members of the public at 05:50 on Tuesday morning in Hospital Street in the Etoshapoort location.
Khairabeb said they suspect that the man had died from the cold and there was no sign of foul play.
According to Khairabeb, Guidao-Oab struggled to find a job after he left school at a very early age, following the death of his parents.
Khairabeb said this was the first incident that was reported where a person had died of the cold in the region this winter.
“It has been very cold this week. Even in Otjiwarongo the temperatures dropped below zero,” said Khairabeb.
He warned that if people have family members on the streets they should track them down and take responsibility for them.
“This is also a burden for us and relatives should take responsibility for them especially during the winter, because they will not survive,” said Khairabeb.
Outjo Constituency Councillor, Abraham Job, said he is aware of a number of people living on the streets, especially young boys.
“Some have parents, but they are very poor. They do not have any kind of shelter. They are from the informal settlements and we have tried several times to enrol them in schools, but they keep returning to the streets.”
According to Job, it is easier for these boys on the streets than in the classrooms.
“They are choosing the life on the streets because it is easier. It is a mindset issue. They do not see their future and choose to live from hand to mouth.”
Job said that it has really become a problem in the town and has also become a nuisance for tourists and is something that the local authority together with his office needs to address.
He said his office has held meetings with traditional authorities and has even instructed the police to round up the boys to speak to them, but still they go back to the streets.
According to Job the socio-economic situation of the children also needs addressed by the government.
“Even if we have to house them in a children’s home, it is something that the government can look into. The problem will not be erased within a year, but we need to empower them to get them off the streets,” said Job.
Nashikaku said temperatures will rise this weekend, ahead of the expected plunge in the middle of next week.
“We can expect mild to warm temperatures during the weekend,” he said.
He said the coast can expect some unpleasant weather this weekend, with sandstorms and hot weather predicted.

 

WINDHOEK ELLANIE SMIT

Namibian Sun