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President Sirleaf sympathizes with Buchanan rainstorm victims

By Jos Garneo Cephas
President Ellen Johnson-Ssirleaf
President Ellen Johnson-Ssirleaf

(Mylbsonline/Ethiopia)-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed sadness and sympathy to affected families after receiving disturbing reports of the devastating rainstorm that left hundreds homeless in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County last weekend.

According to an Executive Mansion Dispatch from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Sirleaf expressed her sincere sympathy to the distressed families and instructed the chairman of the National Disaster Relief Commission (NDRC),  and Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Morris Dukuly to  take action immediately.

President Sirleaf message then ordered Minister Dukuly, to “immediately work with the county leadership and those affected to see how speedy relief can be brought to the victims”, she said.

The Liberian leader made the assertion on Tuesday, May 28, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia before departing for Yokohama, Japan on the second-leg of her three-nation intergovernmental engagement and philanthropy event.
She said Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, who himself arrived in the country early this morning, will coordinate relief activities with the Internal Affairs Ministry, chair of the NDRC.

On Saturday, May 25, a heavy rainstorm damaged an estimated 300 homes leaving more than 250 persons homeless.

The damage included two churches and the general market. During the rainstorm an accompanying lightning also blew out the 350-watt transmitter of the community radio station, Radio Gbehzohn, paralyzing broadcast of the station.

The worse affected communities included Pearchuzon, the Market Area, Gorzon, Gorneegar Town, and New Buchanan.
Eight persons, mainly children, were injured and are taking treatment at the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan. A more serious case was referred to the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia.

Already, the NDRC has sent out an SOS appeal for immediate assistance to the hundreds of residents of Buchanan who were affected by the destructive rainstorm.

During an assessment visit to the disaster area on Monday, May 27, Internal Affairs Minister Dukuly provided initial emergency relief items to the victims including bales of blankets, assorted used clothing, dozens of buckets, cartons of bath soap, bags of slippers and some cash.

Following the assessment, he appealed to good-will institutions and individuals, including the management of Arcelor Mittal and other concessions in the county and beyond to intervene urgently because if nothing is done swiftly to come to the aid of the victims, the situation could result to a humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Dukuly appealed for relief items including mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils, food and building materials - zinc, nails, and cement among others.

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf and delegation departed Ethiopia today en route to Yokohama, Japan, to join other African leaders at the 5thTokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which takes place from June 1-3. While in Japan, President Sirleaf will hold meetings with potential investors and businessmen.

TICAD is held every five years in Japan, with the objective “to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.” 


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