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By Foday Moriba Conteh

As part of their compassionate support to the victims of the Gray Bush & Kaningo fire disasters in the country, Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium which comprises Tzu Chi Foundation, Healey International Relief Foundation, LANYI Foundation and Caritas Freetown has on Wednesday 30th March, 2022 supported the Gray Bush & Kaningo fire disaster victims with relief supplies comprising food and non-food items. The donation took place within the Gray Bush & Kaningo communities respectively.

The relief items included school supplies and cash donations to support the affected school going children, Rice, Garri, Sugar, Cooking Oil, Palm Oil, Onions, Nan baby milk, NIDO baby milk, Nutrilac baby food. The non-food items include sets of cooking pots, blankets, mattresses, plastic wares for domestic and kitchen use, charcoal stoves and sanitary packs comprising laundry and bathing soap as well as sanitary kits for women and girls.

In his address to the victims, the Liaison Person for the Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium, Ishmael Alfred Charles, stated that the consortium has been very supportive in responding to disasters whenever they occur adding that in order for a smooth response to the victims an assessment was done in collaboration with NDMA to know the number of affected persons and number of dwelling houses and properties that were destroyed during the fire outbreaks and also conducted a needs assessment to ascertain the needs of the victims.

He maintained that Gray Bush is one of the impoverished suburban areas within the municipality of Freetown which is situated around the coastal slum neighborhood in the Western Area Urban and shares boundaries with Congo Town and Congo Cross slum communities, furthering that Kaningo on the other hand is one of those communities that has formal settlements and is a relatively anew community that comprises residents from different cultures, religion and ethnic groups with decent house but said as they normally say, ‘Accidents know no bounds’.

Ishmael Alfred Charles revealed that on the 13th February & 18th February 2022 respectively fire disasters engulfed the Kaningo and Gray Bush
communities during which 171 victims and 128 victims at Kaningo and Gray Bush were left homeless and devastated by the unfortunate fire incidents.

He pointed out that the fire incident occurred at about 11:20 PM at Kaningo and about 6:45 PM at Gray Bush where a huge pile of smoke engulfed the entire neighborhood of the affected communities of which he said according to eyewitnesses, the fire disasters happened because of an electrical fault emanating from a high voltage of electricity supplied from the national grid.

“The victims were devastated due to the unfortunate incident that happened to them. The fire disasters left the victims not only homeless but also vulnerable as they lost all their properties including school materials, beddings, cooking utensils, clothing, cash and other valuable household properties. Spontaneously, 12 days of cooking and serving victims with hot meal went on from the 18th- 29th March, 2022 in the two affected communities respectively,” he revealed.

The Liaison Person continued that 9 dwelling houses where completely destroyed at Kaningo and 14 houses were also completely burnt to ground level at Gray Bush disclosing how the victims are still stranded outside because there is no permanent accommodation for them to stay in and that the affected victims include men, women, children, lactating mothers, disables and the youth.

He concluded that on Wednesday 30th March 2022, Partnering to Serve Humanity climaxed the hot meal feeding with the distribution of relief supplies which comprises of food and non-food items to these victims.

Nancy Jones, one of the victims at Kaningo commended Partnering to Serve Humanity for the donation of the relief items which she said are very important in terms of cushioning the negative impacts of the fire disaster on them as victims.

She disclosed that during the fire disaster they lost everything and they are currently challenged in securing basic necessities especially food, furthering that since the implementation of the hot meal program in the community such has helped greatly in supporting them and their families.

Ibrahim Sesay another victim at Gray Bush also expressed appreciation to Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium for the kind donation.

He underscored that things are not really easy for them at the moment but said with the hot meal feeding program that was initiated by the Consortium such has helped them greatly especially their children, furthering that after the fire disaster many families lacked food to feed themselves and their children but said with the relief items supplied to them by the Consortium such will help them and their families greatly in rebuilding their lives.

 Courtesy of the Calabash 1 April 2022

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