By Esther Wright
Madam Michaela Eddina Swallow, President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) has on Friday 19th November, 2021 presented medical supplies worth Le 65,000,000 (Sixty Five Million Leones), nutritional supplies and bed linens to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on behalf of the Bar Association as support to the hospitalized victims of the Wellington fire disaster.
In her presentation, Madam Swallow said that the Wellington Fire Incident is a national tragedy which claimed the lives of many in an awful way.
She stated that as Lawyers, they are always perceived as people made of steel, “but we have a heart and are full of compassion. This is a national tragedy and we’re touched by it and we decided to embark on this drive to raise funds to help the victims.”
She stated that the incident has once again shown the resilience and empathetic heart of Sierra Leoneans to one another as a people especially during such painful and unforgettable moments.
She stated that, “the funds that we have been receiving are very impressive and I want to thank members of the Bar who contributed as we would not be here today if not for them.”
She also used the occasion to call on the President to make good his promise to speedily set up the task force that would investigate the incident and come up with its findings and lessons learnt.
“We need to learn from this and develop a plan to mitigate such tragedy in the future,” she said.
She called on other professional bodies to follow this stride by the Bar and make their own contributions regardless of the amount as nothing is too little in situations like this.
Commending the Agency and the Ministry of Health for taking the necessary frontline steps, the Bar Association President stated she was particularly pleased to hear that DNA samples of the victims were obtained and unique identification numbers inscribed on the graves for further identification of relatives and friends of the victims especially the deceased.
In his brief update on where the Agency is in respect of the Wellington fire incident, the Director of Communications at the NDMA, Mohamed L. Bah said that the Agency after the incident activated their response pillars in order to spur up swift and immediate response to the incident.
He stressed that what is difficult at the moment is the identification of the deceased victims with their families for which samples of their remains have been taken to foster DNA examination of them.
Director of Finance at the Agency said that they have received over One Billion Leones from well-wishers, and from both local and international partners.
Receiving the items on behalf of the Director General and his Deputy, Chief of Corporate Services at the Agency, Kai Banya disclosed that the Agency has clocked a year of existence since its establishment, adding that so far, the Agency has responded to over ninety (90) disasters across the country and impacted over Three Thousand (3,000) households.
He thanked the President of the Bar Association and her team on behalf of the Agency for their kind gesture, reiterating that the items are timely as the death toll keeps rising.
Director of Relief and Response at the Agency, Sinneh Mansaray, who chaired the event, joined his colleagues to thank the Bar Association Executive for their kind consideration and assured that the dispatch of Cthe items to various treatment centers will be swiftly done.
Courtesy of the Calabash 24 November 2021