By Foday Moriba Conteh
As part of their mission to facilitate the development of emergency first responder programs geared towards alleviating the plight of victims of the Susan’s Bay Fire disaster, the world largest humanitarian network, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has on the 7th June, 2021 commenced the distribution of food and non-food items worth millions of Leones to 500 Susan’s Bay fire victims, a gesture which is expected to last for four days.
Despite the fact that over 1,000 households were affected, however, due to limited funds the organization decided to only target 500 most vulnerable victims, including persons living with disability, deprived extended family, households headed by women and the Aged.
The aid took the form of donating items such as bags of rice, gallons of cooking oil, drinking buckets, packets of sugar, packets of salt, hygiene kits, five bars of soap for laundry and bathing etc.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the Director of Resource Mobilization and Communications at Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, Yusuf Kamara, disclosed that the institution has been very instrumental after the fire disaster occurred at Susan’s Bay, adding that they use local solutions to address the needs of vulnerable people wherever they are, wherever they may be and whatever they may need and it in that relation they thought it fit to undertake such a move in order to alleviate the plight of the victims.
Yusuf Kamara maintained that as a responsible organization that seeks the welfare of all they saw it befitting to make the donation adding how they are of the strong conviction that such could be helpful especially when the fire disaster destroyed properties and left thousands of people deprived.
Disaster Management Focal Person at the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, Kai E.M Kelly, revealed that before the commencement of the distribution of the food and non-food items to these 500 targeted beneficiaries they had already given them a sum Two Million Eight Hundred Thousand Leones in order for them to rent affordable houses for the time being as the rainy season was imminent as part of their strides in making communities safer, more resilient and more inclusive.
He added that the devastating fire that engulfed the Susan’s Bay Community on the 24th March 2021 is still fresh on the minds of victims who now struggle on a daily basis to fend for themselves and have safe places to sleep disclosing that is why the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society decided to donate the food and non-food items to them.
Kai E.M Kelly admonished beneficiaries to make good use of the donated items in order to support themselves and their families. He also assured them of the organization’s continued support in order to give them better standards of living.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Councilor for Ward 427, Constituency 124, Madiatu Kamara expressed appreciation to the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society for the donation which she described as a move in the right direction.
She revealed that since the fire disaster at Susan Bay the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society has been working tirelessly to support these victims.
Madiatu Kamara encouraged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity and also pleaded with those who were not selected to be calm as there are many other gestures in the offing.
Pa Yusuf Conteh, one of the beneficiaries, applauded the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society for considering them at this crucial moment in their lives, adding that the fire disaster destroyed all what they had leaving them with nothing.
He called on other organizations to follow the organization’s footprint as residents of Susan’s Bay, especially the Aged, are in dire need of food and non-food items supports considering the damages the fire disaster had caused to their lives.