The Government of Liberia has embarked on a campaign to identify with 38,750 households affected by floods, rain storms, sea erosion, fire and other disasters across Montserrado County and other parts of the county, distributing bags of rice (25Kgs), mattresses, cooking oil, building materials, including bundles of zinc and cash transfer of US$180 to each affected resident.
Tuesday, July 14, was a day of jubilation for residents of New Kru Town, Montserrado Electoral District#16, when the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, led an array of officials, including the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill; Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee; the Executive Director of the National Disasters Management Agency of Liberia, among others to deliver relief items and cash to the victims.
The intervention by the government comes ahead of midterm senatorial elections in all 15 counties in December, in which the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is desperate to retake Montserrado County, its strong hold from Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties or CPP.
The ruling CDC has named Representative Thomas Fallah of Montserrado Disatrict#5 as its candidate for the county’s senatorial seat.
In June, Fallah donated 30 motorbikes and one million Liberian dollars to Montserrado local authorities in Bentol City, the county’s political seat.
“This is just a continuation of what we always do for the people of District #5. We want our county leaders for movement and the amount is intended for stationeries and other operational costs. This is an initial start of what my collaboration with our President will do for you in the near future. Our leaders deserve cars but since we don’t have cars now these brand new motorbikes can be a help until otherwise other”, said the lawmaker, who is aspiring for the senate.
However, addressing cross section of disaster victims in New Kru Town Tuesday, the Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency Henry Williams said, President Weah is concerned about difficulties disasters have imposed on citizens across the country.
“This program is under the NDMA, but with specific mandate from President Weah, and we are not carrying on pick and choose; our coming here was predicated on a survey that was carried out to ensure that the victims benefit”, Director Williams said.
He told the beneficiaries that intervention is not just to reduce their suffering, but it’s geared towards capacity building, adding, “and we all are aware that this gesture is the first of its kind, particularly not only giving relief items but we also giving out cash transfer that will pay your rent, and do a little business.”
According to him, the program will cover districts, communities, and counties that are affected by whatever disaster. “This is not a Monrovia- based program, but rather a national program that will cover all affected areas.”
Montserrado County Electoral District#16 Representative Dixon Seboe, extolled President Weah for his farsightedness for those affected communities across the country, saying, “We on behalf of the people of this district are pleased to extend our gratification to the President.”
Rep. Sebo called on residents and citizens at large to do away with street protests, stressing, “When we say we will do this, we will do it; I think it’s about time that our people do away with protests, even though protest is good, but negotiation brings solution to any problem.”
The exercise is expected to cover about 47 communities across the country, targeting 6,750 households that contain approximately 38, 750 affected occupants.
Launching the government disasters relief program, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee said, the government headed by President Weah is deeply troubled by the news of several disasters that occurred across various districts, communities, and counties, so it is against such backdrop the President through the NDMA thought to respond to the victims.
“We have come to say to you that the government is deeply concern about the difficulties imposed on you by the disasters that disrupt your peace in recent time. We as a government will not sit and watch our people who gave us the power we enjoy today to suffer; it is against this backdrop that the President saw it necessary to identify with you in these critical times.”
A beneficiary of the gesture Esther Dweh, praised the government for its intervention, which she described as timely. “I never thought government would have come to our aid, because it’s been long since we were told that they will come.”
“We are glad that our people have us at heart, despite all the news about government officials being corrupt, at least they finally saw it necessary to identify with us”, Madam Dweh said.
Residents of New Kru Town have been persistently threatened by sea erosion, while rain storms led to the collapse of a wall on 18th Street, Sinkor, killing five persons. Officials of the NDMA disclosed that the affected families will receive US$ 5,000 as a consolation from the government.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne