Government Wharf, Freetown, 12th April 2022 – As it continues relief support to fire and other forms of disaster victims across the country, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on Tuesday provided direct cash transfers to 74 fire victims, amounting to Five Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Leones (Le585,000,000).
These victims suffered serious fire outbreaks that destroyed their businesses. The Agency also extended assistance to 72 victims (Landlords and Households) who lost their houses and shelter. A total of 43 victims received Ten Million Leones (Le10,000,000) each while 31 received Five Million Leones (Le5,000,000) each. Twenty (20) Landlords also received 5 bundles of zinc, 5 packets of roofing nails, 5 packets of 4- and 3-inches nails each while each of the 52 households received a 50kg bag of rice, blankets, soap, vegetable cooking oil, jerry cans and rubber buckets.
On November 17th 2021 and 1st January 2022, the NMDA received reports of two fire incidents at Government Wharf and National Stadium respectively. The NDMA through its Directorate of Relief and Response visited the scenes and conducted assessments to identify the actual victims, and cause of the fire and ascertain the type of response.
Welcoming the community stakeholders, NDMA’s Director of Relief and Response, Sinneh Mansaray thanked everyone present for gracing the occasion, saying NDMA was there to respond to the victims who lost their businesses, homes and properties. He further thanked them for their patience, nothing that the Agency is overwhelmed with sporadic fire incidents, especially in the Western Area, and all of the reported incidences require the attention of NDMA.
The Director-General, NDMA, Lit. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay said: “When God wants to bless his people, He will give them a good leader. The direct cash transfers, food and non-food items we will deliver to you are coming directly from the leader you elected in 2018 – HE Julius Maada Bio. During the elections in 2018, he promised you that if he was elected, he will separate the Disaster Management Office now NDMA from the Office of National Security, and when you voted for him, he fulfilled his promise and ensured that he provides support to his people in times of need”.
The DG continued by admonishing the victims that the government is spending a huge amount to respond to victims when disasters occur. Those funds could have been used for other development purposes. He urged them to refrain from cooking in their homes, not leave their electrical appliances on when leaving their homes, use original electrical materials for their installations and not construct houses beyond demarcated zones, to avoid the reoccurrence of such unfortunate incidents.
The Western Region Resident Minister, Nabeela Tunis, who was also present, on behalf of the government expressed her deepest sympathy to the victims for what she referred to as an ‘unfortunate incident’ that destroyed all their properties and livelihoods. She especially consoled the wife of the man (Musa Bangura) who lost his life to the fire disaster. The Minister however concluded by telling the victims to be strong and utilize the start-up capital given to them by the government judiciously.
Mabinty Sillah, a beneficiary who doubles as the Community Chairlady, while receiving her cheque in a sombre mood, thanked President Bio and the NDMA for restoring dignity to their lives. She said things were very difficult for her family after the fire incident. She promised to use the funds provided to restart her business.
Alpha Kamara, another beneficiary who lost all his entertainment equipment at the National Stadium to another fire outbreak early this year, also thanked the NDMA for the direct cash transfer. He said President Bio indeed has compassion for his people. He went on to state that throughout his life, he has never witnessed a situation where the government will come to the aid of its citizens in circumstances like this. He ended up by saying: “Mek God bless President Bio for way e memba we”.
The National Disaster Management Agency will continue its mitigation and adaptation interventions to reduce the occurrence of both man-made and human-induced disasters and effectively respond where applicable.
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Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency