By Abubakarr Harding
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, in its effort to support humanity, has on the 26th April, 2023 donated relief items to victims of a fire disaster in Loko Town, Gloucester. The Foundation collaborated with its implementing partner, Caritas Freetown, to alleviate the sufferings of victims who lost their homes and properties in the inferno.
On March 30, a fire incident at Loko Town, Gloucester community, left 31 households and 288 individuals homeless, with all their properties lost. According to Margaret Bassie, Tzu Chi Foundation Country Representative in Sierra Leone, the cause of the fire is unknown as it occurred at 2:00 am. The relief items, she said, serve as an exit support to the victims of the fire disaster after 14 days of serving hot meals to the victims to demonstrate their love for them.
Victims from 31 households received Tzu Chi made blankets, multigrain powder, a high protein porridge and 50 kilograms of rice. Additionally, 20 children under five years received baby food, diapers, and baby milk formula, while 186 women and girls received dignity kits comprising sanitary pads, laundry and bathing soaps, lapper, slippers, underwear, toothbrushes and paste, towel and 3 sets of used clothing each.
Idriss Gibson Mansaray, Project Manager at Caritas Freetown stated that on March 30, the National Disaster Management Agency called to inform them about the fire incident. A group of officials from Caritas visited and tried to investigate what actually happened. They engaged the victims to know their needs and provided them with 14 days of hot meals in which they were also involved in cooking.
After the hot meals, they left and, based on their assessment, decided to provide some relief items to the victims to start their life. Gibson advised the victims not to sell the relief items donated to them but to use them.
Frederick Hanciles, Headman of Gloucester Community expressed his gratitude to Tzu Chi and their implementing partners for the support they offer to the victims.
He added that there was no life lost, and that it is the second intervention that Tzu Chi and their implementing partners have done. Some of the victims of the fire incident are presently homeless, and some are not comfortable where they are now. Hanciles pleaded on behalf of the victims for more support from the Government and other humanitarian organizations.
Morrie Kargbo, a victim of the fire incident, stated that the cause of the fire was as a result of a cigarette jot dropped by another tenant.
He thanked and appreciated the organization for the support offered to them.