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LAC death toll rises

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaThe death toll from the recent ‘industrial explosion’ in the concession area of the Liberia Agriculture Company or LAC in Grand Bassa County has risen to five, this paper has learnt. 

Speaking to the NewDawn Tuesday at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia, Grand Bassa County Representative J. Byron Brown said, with great regrets that of the 14 persons seriously wounded as a result of the explosion in LAC, five persons have already died, while nine others remain in critical condition.

Rep. Brown of Electoral District #3 noted that prior to the death of the five men, both the Legislative Caucus and management of the LAC had engaged the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast for the transfer of the victims, but the two countries refused on grounds that Liberia was yet to be declared Ebola-free and were not prepared to put the lives of their citizens at risk. 

“When the incident took place, we engaged Ghana for the victims to be taken for advance treatment, but they refused; when we also engaged the Ivorian authorities, they turned us down- and sadly, four people died Monday night, while one died this morning,” said the Bassa Lawmaker.

He described as painful and saddening that young Liberians, struggling for the survival of their respective families would died in such painful manner-reminded that there were nine others undergoing medical attention at the SD Cooper Hospital in Monrovia.

Rep. Brown, Chairman of the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration of the House of Representatives, said the Bassa Legislative Caucus was currently engaging President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to use her international connections to help the rest of the nine persons seek advance medical treatment. “I personally met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf about taking our people from here so that they can get better medical attention because the county needs them,” he added. 

He also recommended that the management of LAC be responsible for the victims’ families until their respective children are out of secondary school, and that their families be treated fairly as employees of the management.   

On January 22, 2015, several employees were admitted at a hospital run by the Liberia Agriculture Company or LAC in Grand Bassa County, following an explosion which took place at the company’s rubber processing plant.

Out of the 17 wounded as a result of the explosion, according to State radio’s Grand Bassa County Correspondent, 9 were critical, while a few others received minor injuries.

The explosion left the company’s entire rubber processing machinery completely destroyed, while the building was nearly demolished, according to the correspondent. The immediate cause of the explosion was not revealed.

The meeting of the company’s management, county administration and some Lawmakers was held on the situation, following which a visit was made to the hospital.

Family members and friends of the victims of the explosion wept bitterly and uncontrollably as they visited the hospital.

However, the Liberian Government, through the Ministry Labor, is currently investigating the fire incident. 

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

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