April 9, 2021

By Amin Kef Sesay

The High Commissioner of India to Sierra Leone, Rakesh K. Arora, has on the 7th April 2021 led a team of some members of the Indian Community in the country to donate food and non-food items to victims of the 24th March 2021 fire disaster that gutted 254 houses at the Susan’s Bay Community in the East End of Freetown, leaving the affected persons destitute.

Rakesh K. Arora was accompanied by Devraj Budhwani, the Ex-Chairman of the Indian Community in Sierra Leone, Harish Agnani, the Indian Consul, Rohit Banuami, the Indian Community General Secretary, Jatin Hiranandani and Rajesh Hemnani ,both members of the Community.

Sinneh Mansaray, who is the Incident Manager at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), acted as Chairman of the short occasion. He started by introducing his boss, Rtd  Lieutenant General Brima Sesay ,who was the immediate erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff and other members of his team as well as Major Prince Sesay who is deployed at the community as Logistics Officer.

He continued that in the aftermath of the fire disaster various organizations and individuals have come and made donations, as a way of sympathizing with them, the affected persons, further disclosing that as of now it is the Indian Community that has come to offer food and non-food items to them, the victims.

Councillor Madianatu Kamara of Ward 427, where the disaster occurred, expressed heartfelt appreciation to the Indian Community for thinking of extending a kind gesture to the affected persons. She underscored that it is not the first time that the Indian Community has extended humanitarian assistance to affected persons in that community as they did so in the past by offering them essential materials to improve the lives of residents. She then welcomed them on behalf of the Community Chief, who was unavoidably absent, and the residents.

The Indian Ambassador, in his statement, said it was very disturbing and disheartening to hear about the accident, when the devastating fire, occurred leaving thousands homeless.

“We understand that this must be an incredible difficult time for you,” the Ambassador expressed sympathy further stating that he is confident that the Government, under the leadership of President Bio, is trying to provide all the support needed by them as affected persons.

“I understand that the Government is not only considering relocating you but also putting in place mechanisms to ensure that such accidents do not reoccur,” he pointed out stating that he is with them to let them know that the Indian Community is deeply saddened by the incident and with them in this hour of need.

He said the Indian Community would like to supplement the efforts of the Government and they are there to hand over certain items of urgent need to the authorities.

“We pray for the early rehabilitation and settlement of those affected,” Ambassador Rakesh K. Arora concluded.

The Director General of the National Disaster Management Agency, Rtd Lieutenant General Brima Sesay, on his part said the day is special further highlighting that the Indian Community in Sierra Leone is a very important entity. He said from what he understood members of the Community were so touched when the news break out of the disaster.

“They thought it fit that it is their responsibility to help the Government in mitigating the effects of the disaster which is why they are here today,” he told the community residents expressing hope that the next time that the Indians would decide to render assistance to the community it should not in time of disaster but one that would meaningfully contribute to national development.

The items that were donated include: 6,000 of MGL-162 Deep Plate , 6000 of MGL-819 Water Mugs, MGL- 603 Soup Bowls 6000, MGL-630 Rice Bowls 6000, DP-58 Bucket 20Liter 840, MGL-450 Wash Basin (50-liter) 840, Power plus Medicated Soap 125gms X 48 pcs 2400, Padi Multipurpose Soap 150gms x 60 pcs 3000, Glucose Biscuits 100Crt, Rice 25kgs 50bags, Mario fish Sardines 50Crt, Used Cloth bale ( mixed cloth )  5 bale, Used Cloth bale ( Towels ) 5 bale, Used Cloth bale ( bedsheets ) 2 bale, Mats 5 x 50 pcs 250, Corrugated I sheets Zinc 250 bundles and Roofing Nails- 80 Boxes.

The handing over of the donated items to the requisite authorities formed the highpoint of the donation programme.

According to a cross section of community residents, since organizations and individuals started donating this has been the second biggest donation so far, after the President’s donation, amounting to millions and millions of Leones.

Courtesy of Calabash 9, April 2021

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