Following Guinea’s devastating fuel depot explosion on December 23, 2023, resulting in 24 fatalities and 454 injuries, Sierra Leone has emerged as a beacon of support and solidarity in the region. President Julius Maada Bio responded swiftly, dispatching a high-level delegation led by Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh to assist Guinea.
The Sierra Leone delegation, comprising specialists from the Ministry of Health, representatives from Trade and Industry, the head of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, and a team from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), brought specialized drugs and relief items to aid the victims. Drawing from experience after the Wellington fuel tanker explosion in November 2021, the Sierra Leone team offered invaluable assistance in response strategies, post-recovery aid, and data collection in Guinea.
Discussions during the visit centered on Sierra Leone’s offer to temporarily utilize its terminal for Guinea’s petroleum products, facilitating their overland transport. The NDMA conducted risk assessments and provided crucial guidance on safety and security for transporting large quantities of petroleum products from Sierra Leone to Guinea, showcasing the strength of inter-agency partnerships during crises.
In a gesture of gratitude, Guinean President Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya sent a delegation led by the Prime Minister to confer certificates and medals of appreciation upon the Sierra Leone delegation. The awards ceremony, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s foreign academy in Freetown on January 5, 2024, honored Sierra Leone’s unwavering commitment during Guinea’s time of need. The Guinean delegation dedicated these awards to the people of Sierra Leone.
The National Disaster Management Agency of Sierra Leone received recognition for their technical support, with medals and certificates presented to key members for their contributions. The Agency also issued an appeal to the public, especially road users along specific routes, urging heightened caution as convoys of Guinean tankers traverse these areas.