25 Jan 2016 19:40pm
OHAMAREMBA, 25 JAN (NAMPA) The seven people who died from alleged food poisoning were on Monday laid to rest at Ohamaremba in the Kunene Regions Epupa Constituency.
A family member, the eight-year-old Turikuani Tjiposa who died of an unrelated cause in a Windhoek hospital last week, was buried along with the relatives.
All bodies were transported to Ohamaremba from Opuwo on Monday morning.
The funeral was the first of its kind in the Kunene Region, with eight people from the same household being buried on the same day.
The porridge claimed the lives of Kakuriua Tjiposa, 11, last Saturday and of Kataeko Tjindunda, Tjanakambendje Tjindunda, three-year-old twins; and Mbatajao Tjiposa, also three, last Wednesday in the Oshakati State Hospital.
Another victim, Mukaapita Tjindunda, aged one and Vekondja Tjiposa, 33 died last Thursday, also in the said hospital, while Tuapatua Tjiposa, 22, died Friday morning in the same hospital.
The twins; Mbatajao Tjiposa and Mukaapita Tjindunda were buried next to each other; while the two sisters - Vekondja Tjiposa and Tuapatua Tjiposa - and Kakuriua Tjiposa were buried next to each other.
This was done because the OvaHerero culture does not permit the burial of young children in a cemetery, and they should instead be buried in a cattle kraal. An exception was however made due to the manner in which the children died.
A Special Advisor to the governor of the Kunene Region, Katuutire Kaura, said during an interview with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Otjiherero radio station at the funeral their deaths demonstrate how the delay in the distribution of drought relief food can lead to the loss of lives.
Kaura, who appealed to Government ministries to respond on time when approached to avail vehicles to deliver drought relief food, attributed the delay to the shortage of vehicles in this regard.
His appeal was a response to the pleas of people in the Epupa Constituency who say they do not get their drought relief food on time. It has been said that a lack of food is what led to the children adding the sediment of traditional beer to the porridge.
It is believed that when the children saw the porridge was too thin, they decided to add the sediment of the beer; not knowing it could be a poisonous substance as everybody has their own recipe and some fortify the brew.
According to a police report, the victims started vomiting and suffered severe diarrhoea after consuming the porridge.
In a speech prepared for delivery at the funeral, President Hage Geingob appealed for Namibians to be sensitised about food poisoning.
Referring to a similar unfortunate incident where people in the Kavango Region died of food poisoning, Geingob asked Government institutions, traditional authorities and churches to compile sensitisation programmes in this regard.