Kenema City, Eastern Sierra Leone, 28th March 2022 — The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) over the weekend visited villages and towns in Kenema and Kailahun districts where inhabitants were affected by fire and windstorm, displacing a total of 78 households in Bandawo Village, Niawa Lokoma Chiefdom; Duduwai Street, Kenema City; Mende Kelema Village, Guara Chiefdom all in Kenema District; and Segbwema Town, Njaluahun Chiefdom; Luawa Baoma Village, Luawa Chiefdom in Kailahun District respectively. The visit saw the provision of relief support to the victims.
These towns and villages suffered major fire outbreaks and windstorm incidents which razed dwelling houses to the ground, and properties worth millions of Leones destroyed. The provision of relief support to the victims is in line with NDMA’s mandate to not only mitigate the occurrence of disasters but respond when it occurs.
After receiving reports of the above-mentioned incidents, the Agency in November 2021, visited all the affected locations and conducted assessment exercises to verify and capture details of the actual beneficiaries in order to avoid omissions and/or ensure the relief support is given to the right victims.
On March 25, the NDMA dispatched a high-powered delegation to the eastern region, headed by the Deputy Director-General (DDG), John V. Rogers to superintend the provision of food and non-food items as relief support from the Office of the President through the National Disaster Management Agency.
In a well-attended ceremony at Bandawo Village, the DDG started by thanking the people of Bandawo Village for their warm reception and told them that the NDMA was in their village to respond to the ugly fire incident that ravaged their houses. He also said that his boss, the Director-General, could not make the trip due to other engagements but that he was there to represent him.
While handing over the items to the beneficiaries, the DGG emphasized the need for community leaders to adopt ‘vital disaster risk reduction approaches’. According to him, disaster risk reduction saves lives by limiting the amount of risk people face and the level of damage a crisis might cause. It can help communities effectively prepare for and cope with natural hazards. Mr. JV Rogers also said that the number of disasters is increasing every year, pointing out that climate change, population growth, urban development in risk-prone areas, and changes in land use are all increasing the risks.
He pointed out that he is aware that the country is in the dries, and farmers most times engage in burning their bushes, but admonished that measures should be put in place to effectively prevent the spreading of those fires into towns and villages. NDMA’s Deputy Director-General also admonished them to stop cooking in their homes as that has the propensity to cause fire outbreaks and destroy their abode.
In each of the various locations, each household received a 50kg bag of rice, blankets, jerry cans, soap, vegetable cooking oil and rubber buckets while house owners (landlords) received 5 bundles of zinc, 5 packets of roofing nails, 5 packets each of 4- and 3-inches nails to cushion the effect and help them rebuild.
In Segbwema Town, Paramount Chief Sheriff Coker Jajua on behalf of his people, expressed his profound gratitude to the President, HE Julius Maada Bio for establishing the National Disaster Management Agency. He said the significance of the Agency cannot be overemphasized, adding that the NDMA is doing a tremendous job by providing food and non-food items to disaster victims in times of need. He however vouched to take the DDG’s advice into consideration and promised to adopt measures to avert the reoccurrence of such fire incidents in his town. The PC said he will ensure that the items provided are utilized for their intended purpose.
In Kailahun Town, the Honorable Member of Parliament, Sartie Banya, representing constituency 004, which covers Luawa Boama, Kailahun District where eighteen (18) households were totally destroyed by heavy windstorms, also joined the queue by thanking President Bio for what he describes as “providing care and support for the people in difficult situations”. He further stated that since the NDMA was established, it has done remarkably well with its disaster risk reduction strides and responds to same when it occurs across the country.
Hon. Banya also said when the incident occurred, he was happy that the NDMA wasted no time visiting the scene and conducted comprehensive assessments to ascertain the affected victims. He expressed his delight that the NDMA was on the ground physically to donate the food and non-food items to his people. He said this shows how committed the government is to its people by providing huge supports to reduce their predicaments.
The National Disaster Management Agency will this week continue its nationwide relief support to fire and windstorm victims in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone.
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National Disaster Management Agency