NDMA Headquarters, Aberdeen, Freetown, December 29th 2022 – The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) through its Directorate of Relief and Response presented an Assessment Report on the Funkia Market Fire Incident to key partners such as the UNDP, UNICEF, IOM, WFP, SLRCS, CARITAS, ALL FOR ONE and others during a Coordination Meeting to solicit support for the affected population.
It could be recalled that on December 25th 2022, a fire incident at Funkia Market, England Ville Community, Goodrich was reported which left over two hundred people homeless and destroyed properties worth millions of Leones. The assessment report indicates that the outbreak was caused by an electric spark at approximately around 12:30 pm.
The National Fire Force (NFF) was called upon and quickly dispatched its fire engine to respond, unfortunately, the said vehicle was involved in a terrible accident on its way to the fire scene. However, with support from community members, the fire was put out and prevented from spreading.
According to the assessment report, a total population of 938 in 211 households lost their homes and properties. Sixteen (16) individuals sustained injuries whilst 5 stores, 46 shops and 136 wooden stalls were destroyed. Majority of the inhabitants’ trade in fish for their livelihoods.
On the 27th of December 2022, NDMA’s Director General, Lieutenant General (Rtd) Brima Sesay and his Deputy, John V. Rogers together with other Directors, visited the scene and comforted the affected victims. The Director General stated that the President, His Excellency Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio is fully aware of the incident and that the NDMA is working assiduously with partners to provide immediate relief support.
The report also captured the urgent priority needs of the victims which include (psychosocial support, food and non-food items, shelter kits, cash transfers etc.) Some of the partners identified areas of intervention, whilst others said they will consult with their headquarters and revert within 72 hours.
The rapid increase in household fire incidents, especially in Slum/Clustered Communities, is caused mostly by poor electrification. Some of these cannot be unconnected to poor wiring of houses by unprofessional electricians that habitually make use of faulty, old and outdated materials, and faulty receptacles for their work. This is in addition to the multiple illegal connections to a single-phase domestic meter, which can cause sparks and lead to fire outbreaks.
Illegal electricity connections to dwelling places, regardless of the wattage being supplied, account for over 70% of electrical fires recorded in 2022, especially within Freetown.
The public is therefore advised to always consult trained and qualified electricians for their electrical work. Paying attention to the maximum recommended wattage on all their electrical appliances can minimize the risk of an electrical fire in their household.