Govt Reaches Out to Families of Dead

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Government’s response in assisting the families of the horrific accident that claimed 17 lives between Grootfontein and Rundu will be coordinated by a Steering Committee that was formed last week. Comprising of the Office of the Prime Minister, the National Road Safety Council, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, Roads Authority, Namibian Police, Namibia Red Cross Society, Namibia Defence Force and the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association, the committee will charter the way forward on how the government can meaningfully help to manage the tragedy. On Friday the identities of all the victims of the accident had still not been determined and the identification process was ongoing. At a press briefing, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Eugene Tendekule, said while some of the bodies had been identified others had not because they did not have identification documents on their persons. Because of this, the list of the victims cannot be released because some of the victims’ next of kin have yet to be informed and the committee is not able to assess whether the relatives will have to travel to identify their loved ones. It is suspected that six or seven of the victims were foreigners, which will require getting in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to liaise with embassies of the victims. On Friday, there was an indication that the foreign victims could be Zimbabwean. Tendekule said only 10 passengers’ names were on the list of the microbus that was involved in the accident around midnight of Wednesday last week. He also revealed that some of the victims did not use their real names, which the committee needed to find out. Considering that the driver of the NDF vehicle was at fault, the MVAF accepted liability for the accident and it announced that it would cover the costs of the deceased. Among others, the fund will give each family N$7 000 to cover the expenses relating to transport and subsistence as they travel to various mortuaries and also for buying the coffin. The committee has opened a bank account to solicit funds to assist the bereaved families. The account, which will be administered by the NRCS, is Grootfontein Accident Fund 12/14, Bank Windhoek, branch number 48192 and account number 1140765513. Tendekule asked all good Samaritans to donate whatever they could to the families of the victims. “The Red Cross Society will receive all donations for redistribution to the families of the victims once they are identified,” he said, adding that the donations can be delivered at Red Cross offices in Katima Mulilo, Rundu and Grootfonetin. Since most of the victims are from Caprivi, the regional governor also met his officials last week to establish a regional task team to trace the family members. Meanwhile, the NRSC says in view of the fact that members of the public want to know the cause of the accident, the council will launch a forensic investigation to determine conclusively what might have caused the crash. “Until we know exactly what transpired, we will refrain from making comments that are not informed of real facts” Tendekule added. Relatives that need more information on assistance that they can get should contact Steven Shivolo, MVAF at these numbers: 0811220405 or 061378218, or Ileni Davids 0811279321 or 061 378 231, Eugene Tendekule at NRSC 0811279152. Contact numbers of Red Cross Regional Managers are Mardi Horn, Rundu Office 0812809110 or 066256213, Polly Helmut, Caprivi Office at 066 253 416 or 0812735329 and Bapsy Ndjao at Grootfontien office at 0812103233.