By Staff Reporter
In a desperate endeavour to come home, Namibian students penned a petition addressed to President Hage Geingob on Thursday, making an appeal that they be evacuated from China, where the highest number of infections of the COVID-19 virus are recorded.
In the impassioned letter, students note the facts of the situation on the ground and the perceived lack of reaction by the Namibian government to their plight.
“Comrade President, after registering and presenting to HE Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to PR China our panic, fear as well as various needs of students after the curfew and locked down of Wuhan City, the only response we have received from the Ambassador is through an audio, which is also circulating on social media, claiming that “students just want to go chill”. In addition to the disappointment are the comments taken from NBC news page (11 February 2020), made by the Honourable Minister of Higher Education regarding the students in Wuhan.
We should however, state our disappointment with the level of neglect we have suffered at the hands of our leaders. We should bring to your attention that despite of all these comments, no attempts were made by any of the two leaders, given their critical mandates, to reach out to the Students in Wuhan by any means, neither through an official letter nor by visiting physically the students in Wuhan, given that visits by country
representative and leaders are authorised and permitted provided that prior arrangements are made with the Hubei Province Government. Hence none of the views and comments expressed by our leaders prove as a reflection of any truth nor depict the true picture of the situation on the ground. They have never taken any accounts of the situation from the affected students but rather from the media and the daily general briefings by WHO and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China. Hence, we feel neglected.
The situation on the ground as widely reported is that the city is locked down and placed under curfew. All Public Transports and all airways to and from Wuhan have been suspended.
Today Wuhan is like a ghost town, silent without any sound of a moving vehicle.
The World Health Organisation has declared the pandemic a global crisis and unfortunately 27 Namibian students find themselves at the epicentre of the virus. Furthermore, the infections have also been able to reach some university campuses with at least 73 confirmed cases. In addition, the Hubei province is currently affected by the shortage of food, masks and medical supplies which also affects the student communities. Not to mention the severity of this virus epidemic, it is estimated that approximately 100 (one hundred) people die each day. This has been also widely reported on well-known international news channels such as BBC, CNN as well as Aljazeera news networks, hence its credibility.
This situation is not only scary but causing fear and panic to the students as we fear for our life. Moreover, it has caused detrimental psychological distress, stress and panic tremor. Some students have lost appetite, some have developed anxiety, depression, confusion, night terror and nightmares. Some students have given up hope.
The situation is very critical, more than the way it is delivered and depicted at home.
It is disappointing to note that, none of the views and comments expressed by our leaders reflects any reality on the ground and the suffering of the students. However, given the status quo, no student is able to go home without humanitarian interventions of our Government.
On this note, we hereby implore Your Excellency’s Office to consider evacuating us from Wuhan City and may be save our life too. We have noted that other countries have evacuated their nationals while others are still in the process of doing so, hence the request.
It is mind boggling that to date our Embassy continue to issue visa’s to Chinese Nationals returning or visiting Namibia, while the students are being ignored possibly due to the fact that we are from the epicentre of the outbreak whereas the whole of China was declared as affected including Beijing Capital.
Reference is made to flight ET835 from Addis Ababa to Hosea Kuutako International Airport on the 02nd February 2020 which was full (of) Chinese Nationals and only about 7 Namibians.
It is on the above premise and out of an abundance of caution that we kindly and urgently seek for Your Excellency’s Office pardon to fast-track the process of making a determination…”
Read the full petition here.