Freetown, 10th March 2022 – As part of its mandate, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on 9th Wednesday commenced the distribution of food and non-food items as relief support to fire and windstorm victims in the Wester Area. This direct aid is geared towards helping the victims maintain their families and restore their livelihood.
Since the beginning of the year, the NDMA has recorded a total of 30 fire incidents which gutted homes and reduced belongings to ashes and 1 windstorm incident which also left a public facility roofless. These sudden calamitous events brought great damage, loss, destruction and devastation to life and property. The damage caused varies from one location to the other.
Consequently, the NDMA conducted thorough assessments to ascertain the vastness of damaged caused, the affected population and households, as well as the cause of fire outbreaks to help classify the type and degree of response. A comprehensive report was also presented to the Office of the President with recommendations on the next steps. His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio wasted no time in approving the commencement of the direct relief support to the victims.
Victims in five locations within Freetown (Salman Drive, Aberdeen; Off Sir Samuel Lewis Road, Aberdeen; Murray Town Barracks; Off Signal Hill Road and 34 military barracks) received assorted relief items from the NDMA as direct support in a bid to cushion the effect on them.
Each household, in four (4) locations received a bag of 50kg rice, jerry can, blanket and vegetable cooking oil while landlords received 5 bundles of zinc, five packets of roofing nails and five packets of 3 & 4 inches nails respectively with exception to Services School in 34 military barracks that received 50 bundles of zinc, 50 packets of roofing nails and 50 packets each of 3 & 4 inches nails.
Presenting the items at the various locations, Chief of Cooperate Services, NDMA, Kai Banya, started by sympathizing with the victims. He told them that the relief support was coming directly from the President.
“This support is from HE Julius Maada Bio. He is the one who established this Agency to respond to unfortunate incidents like this. However, this Agency is not only there to be responding to disasters, but to also mitigate the occurrences of disasters across the country”, he said.
Mr Banya went on to state that the NDMA has recorded 137 disasters since its inception and it has responded to 99 across the country. He said this phase of response will cover all the remaining incidents. He further admonished the victims not to join more people to use one meter and that they should endeavour to be hiring the services of qualified electricians to do their electrical installations.
Deputy Director of Relief and Response, NDMA, Morlu Brewah, also weighed in by stating that there are two main types of disasters – man-made and natural disasters. He said most disasters the NDMA has responded to are man-made, hence, victims have a responsibility to choose where to live and avoid engaging in activities that are inimical to their lives and properties.
At 34 military barracks, Education Officer, Major Ul-Ibn Kanteh, while receiving the building materials, said he was extremely happy for the kind gesture from the NDMA. He said the roof of the Services School – which has been the bedrock in providing secondary education for their kids were blown away by heavy windstorm. He said roofing the school will get the kids back to school.
He thanked the President, HE Julius Maada Bio for prioritizing education in the country, thereby building a solid foundation for the future of the country. He promised the NDMA that the materials donated will be used for their intended purpose.
Recipients at the various locations also joined the queue in thanking HE Julius Maada Bio for establishing the NDMA and supporting it to respond to such emergencies. At Salman Drive, Aberdeen, a recipient, Mary Bangura said: “This is the second time our home has been consumed by fire. When our home got burnt the first time, before the establishment of the NDMA, some people visited us and took our names and promised to provide support but to no avail. But this time around, we were happy that immediately our house got burnt, the NDMA visited and collected our names and contact numbers and promised to provide some items for us, and today, they are here with the items, so I’m very happy”, she noted.
The National Disaster Management Agency will continue its first phase of response to victims of disaster-related incidents in Freetown throughout the week.
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