Bo City, Southern Sierra Leone, 23rd February 2023 – The Directorate of Relief and Response of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has on Monday 20th February 2023 commenced the provision of relief items to disaster victims in Kono, Kailahun, Kenema, Pujehun, Bo, Bonthe and Moyamba Districts, where a total population of 2,769 victims were affected by a heavy wind storm and fire incidents, displacing 282 households, destroying 197 houses and 16 public structures.
NDMA’s Southern Region Coordinator, Abdulrahman Turay said the provision of relief items is part of the government’s commitment to cushioning the suffering of disaster victims and NDMA is mandated by law to not prevent disasters from occurring but to also respond to them when they do occur. He also disclosed that with support from the government, the NDMA is gradually populating its organogram by establishing its regional offices to ensure representation across the country. It is within the purview of every regional office to conduct risk assessments, risk mitigation, registration of affected victims, and ascertain causes of disasters to avert reoccurrence within their respective jurisdictions.
“Providing relief after a disaster not only sustains life, it maintains hope for the future and the potential for full economic recovery. NDMA’s role in providing disaster relief is becoming even more important as the number of disasters increases due to climate change and illegal human activities in our environments. We must all work collectively to reduce the risks around communities.” He surmised.
In Sandor Chiefdom, Kono District, NDMA’s deputy director of relief and response, Morlu Brewah stated that before the establishment of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the Office of National Security was entrusted with issues relating to disasters and emergencies.
Whilst referring to the NDMA Act of 2020 which gives a mandate to the agency to manage disasters and similar emergencies in Sierra Leone, Brewah disclosed that since its establishment in 2020 to date, the Agency has responded to a total population size of 50,575 victims in 291 response activities within 16 Districts and 53 Chiefdoms in Sierra Leone. Those responses include; 10,268 total households; 715 injured cases; 249 death cases; 3,316 destroyed houses; 102 Public facilities; and 235 direct cash transfers to victims who lost their businesses.
Acting Vice Principal of Quranic Secondary School, Madina Section in Bo City, Mahmoud K. Gassama whose school was affected by wind storm thanked the NDMA and government for prioritizing the humanitarian needs of people affected by disasters. He said it was a wise decision by the government to establish such a humanitarian institution.
“I have been following the activities of the NDMA across the country, I must state that I’m impressed with what they’ve been doing to generally manage emergency-related issues in the country. The provided relief items will enable us to reconstruct our school’s roof, which was blown away by a heavy wind storm. When we had the incident, everything stopped. But today, I am grateful to the NDMA and government for the timely intervention.” He expressed.
During the response, each of the 282 households is to receive a bag of (50 kg) rice and10ltrs of vegetable cooking oil. Each of the 197 house owners whose houses were affected will also receive 5 bundles of zinc, and 5 packets of 4″ & 5″ nails, whilst each of the 16 public structures is to also receive 10 bundles of zinc, and 10 packets of 4″ and 5″ nails respectively.
The NDMA is committed to continuing its response activities immediately before, during, and after a hazard impact, which are aimed at saving lives, reducing economic losses, and alleviating the suffering of disaster victims in Sierra Leone.