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Liberian National Red Cross Society extends aid to Gbarpolu storm victims

By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh

The Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) has extended its relief program to storm victims in Gbarquoita and Guyanta Towns in Gbarpolu County, Western Liberia.

The LNRCS distributed assorted items including rice, vegetable oil, vita, salt, toothpaste cooking utensils, and assorted materials of used cloths, sleeping mats, blankets, buckets, soap and tarpaulins to victims across the two towns over the weekend.

Beneficiaries of LNRCS relief packages

About 68 structures including 62 private homes and 6 public buildings were destroyed on February 12, 2023, during a violent storm in the towns of nearly 3000 inhabitants.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, LNRCS dispatched relief experts to assess the most urgent needs and help coordinate some aid interventions.

At least about 263 persons: 102 males, 103 females, and 58 children were left homeless, according to an initial assessment conducted by the LNRCS before its intervention.

building in ruins

LNRCS head of Disaster Assistance Operation Marietta Doe told reporters in Gbarpolu that the violent storm deroofed homes, while others were destroyed to the ground.

She said under the theme: Offering support and restoring hope to storm victims in Gbarquota and Guyanta towns, Gbarpolu County, the LNRCS has been on full alert and working around the clock since the storm hit the county.

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She explained that the situation has been troubling to the LNRCS as a humanitarian organization while demanding collective support to give some relief to those affected by the disaster. She added that the victims need both relief and recovery assistance to get back on their feet.

Madam Doe narrated that while the resources at the disposal of the Liberian Red Cross are insufficient to restore all their losses, the disaster response team of the Red Cross was able to quickly get on the ground to distribute food and essential nonfood items among victims.

Some of the affected victims who spoke to this paper over the weekend were delighted and grateful to the LNRCS for swiftly coming to assist them at the point of their needs.

“We thank God and the Liberian Red Cross that have come in to wipe away our tears, sorrows, and frustration. This wind has caused us a lot; our homes, schools, and place of worship were all destroyed,” said the aging Zoe Jackson- Chairlady of Gbarquoita Town, who earns her livelihood through farming rice, cassava, and other vegetable crops.

Another victim identified as Naomi Kerwor, who saw two of her houses being badly damaged by the storm said she and her children were currently sleeping under an open kitchen after being left homeless by the storm.

Madam Kerwor told the New Dawn: “Our homes were destroyed, and we don’t have anywhere to stay at the moment. But we are grateful to the Red Cross for coming to help us- for me, I have 10 children, and my two houses at the front you are seeing over there got blown away by the storm. My husband and the children got nowhere to sleep. We have been sleeping in the cold under an open kitchen until we can rebuild our structures. So, these items came at the right time and will help us greatly.”

Also speaking, Gbarquoita Town Chief, Beyan Kollie, said the local town people were excited to receive the gift from the Liberian National Red Cross Society because the heavy storm had left the people frustrated.

“We didn’t have any hope before the Red Cross [came]. This year, the storm has hit us hard, but all glory to God for the Red Cross. Let God bless your team, for reaching safely to help us,” Chief Kollie said.

For his part, the Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs of Gbarpolu County, Anthony Yorkor, who accompanied the relief team to Gbarquoita Town, said the initiative from the Liberian Red Cross will help compliments government efforts to the people amid the huge disasters across the country.

He said the County Administration is grateful to the Red Cross for the timely intervention to aid the people of Gbarpolu County, “At the time of this terrible disaster, we the people of Gbarpolu were shocked to see our people made homeless and everything they have been destroyed. But with the timely intervention of the Red Cross, with these relief items, will help ease the recovery, rebuild lives, and help them a lot,” Yorkor, said.

At least 52 Houses got destroyed in Gbarpolu County, of which 35 were damaged and 27 were partly damaged homes, rounding up 62 homes of over 2,965 inhabitants occupying both Gbarquois and Guyanta Towns, Gbarpolu County.

Meanwhile, the LNRCS has been working closely with disasters volunteers to help control the situation across Liberia, with first aid and rescue efforts.

The distribution in Gbarpolu over the weekend is the second disaster response from the LNRCS this year after responding to 278 people affected storm victims in District #2, Grand Bassa County.

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