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Gbarpolu County Strom Victims Get Massive Assistance

BOPOLU DISTRICT – Two humanitarian organizations and local authorities have provided emergency support including cash, food, and assorted building materials to help rebuild the homes of victims of a recent storm disaster in Gbarpolu County.

Report By: Henry B. Gboluma, Jr in Gbarpolu County

On February 12, 2023 a heavy storm destroyed over 60 houses, leaving more than 200 people (102 males and 103 females) homeless in Gbarquois town.  According to the Liberian Nation Red Cross Society (LNRCS), 58 children are among those affected including a five-year-old-girl who was injured and a visually impaired mother.

Commenting on Red Cross intervention, Gbarpolu County Field Officer of the LNRCS, Seth M. Tarweh said, “When the incident happened, our volunteers moved quickly on the ground to assess the level of damage and documented the number of affected people. It was established that 68 structures were badly affected.”

“The violent storm on February 12 was extremely troubling and we are deeply concerned about those affected,” added Gregory Blamoh, LNRCS Secretary.

Red Cross Makes Intervention

Red Cross was the first to make intervention following the storm disaster that left more than 60 homes damaged

On March 3, 2023, the Red Cross distributed assorted used cloths, sleeping mats, blankets, buckets, soap and tarpaulins as well as assorted food items including rice, vegetable oil, salt, vita and toothpaste.

Gbarpolu County Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs Anthony Yorkor thanked LNRCS for the intervention.

“We have been following your (LNRCS) activities in terms of responding to humanitarian needs. This is not the first time; we will continue to partner with you, to support our people in times like these,” he said. “I am happy for what the Red Cross people brought for my people.”

“The Red Cross intervention is timely,” added Habakkuk M. Jallah, town Chief of Gbarquois town.

Mr. Konneh assured the residents of more support to help them rebuild their homes

Former Finance Minister Gives Support

Former Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh also donated some items to the victims and assured the victims of more, adding “we are not waiting for the government to come; we will stand with you until each house is built.”

His support, which he said valued at US$8,000.00, included 59 bundles of zinc, 45 bags of 25KG rice and 6-cartoons of zinc nail. In addition to the donation, Mr. Konneh promised to provide planks to fast track the rebuilding process.

ActionAid Gives Cash Support 

At the same time, ActionAid Liberia has made some intervention through Liberian Women Humanitarian Network. The emergency financial assistance, which saw each storm affected family receiving US$150.000, began on March 7 to help families “jumpstart their recovery”.

“We know there have been some interventions made already, so, this financial assistance will allow people to make their own decisions and prioritize what their family needs most to start recovery,” said Madam Noemi Tulay of the Liberian Women Humanitarian Network.

County Caucus Approves Support from Social Development Funds 

Meanwhile, the leadership of Gbarpolu County through the Project Management Committee (PMC) has also made distribution of building materials worth US$10,000.00 to the victims. The funding was approved by the count’s Legislative Caucus from the County & Social Development Funds, according to the PMC Chairman, Mr. Robert D. Benda.

On Saturday, March 11, 106 family heads benefited from the 150 bundles of zinc, 19 cartoons of zinc nails, and 40 cartoons of wire nails, Mr. Benda told LocalVoicesLiberia.

Residents Laud Interventions 

Remarking on behalf of the affected town, the Bondi clan chief, Norgbor Mawolo thanked Mr. Konneh and others for their intervention, assuring that the materials will be distributed to the most affected storm victims.

One of the storm victims, Fatu David said: “I tell ActionAid thank you, because the money that they gave us I received [have] my own. Even those that [are] helping ActionAid to help us, we tell everybody thank you.”

“I will use this money to ask people to help me build my house,” added another beneficiary, Fatu Ballah.

Elijah B. Johnson, another beneficiary, thinks the money came timely. “This money came at the time when I needed it the most and so I’m grateful to ActionAid and partners for this cash support I received.”

Habakkuk M. Jallah, town chief of Gbargouis and head of the intervention committee, they are working with the families to reconstruct damaged homes.

“My people continue to get various support through all of you people’s involvement, so we are now working with them to speed up the rebuilding of the damaged houses in this town,” he said.

Henry B. Gboluma, Jr. is a journalist, social worker and advocate. He's dedicated to reporting issues that affect rural communities. Gboluma is the Deputy Manager for Administration and Public Affairs at the Voice of Gbarpolu in Bopolu. In 2018 and 2019, Gboluma was awarded Journalist of Year in Gbarpolu County for his commitment to empowering communities through development reporting. He holds a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism and has obtained couple of certificates in Management, Humanitarian Communications, Health Journalism and Environment and Occupational Health. Henry is also a student of A.M.E. Zion University College.

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