Authorities at the Liberia Disaster Management Agency under the Ministry of Internal Affairs seem to be silent on two recent fire disasters that burnt a family of five members to ashes at Oldest Congo Town and destroyed three stores and several residences on Randall Street, Central Monrovia.
Speaking to this paper over the weekend, a victim of the Randall Street Community Josiah Tweh claimed that nothing is being done to rebuild their lives after the destruction of their properties by fire.
He wonders where is the Liberia Disaster Management Agency at this time of their condition, claiming that the agency is not saying something about victims’ situation.
Mr. Tweh blamed government for the disaster, claiming that if government had stopped foreigners from building on the alley, the number of people who were affected by the fire wouldn’t have been so many.
“We the poor people are in serious problem in this country, no one can stop government from selling. But if they sell spot to Lebanese or Indians, they must also instruct them not to build on the alley,” the victim says.
According to Mr. Tweh, the recent fire incident that gutted three stores and his house allegedly resulted from building in the alley, saying when Fire Service went on the scene, there was no way for them to reach his house because structures were built in the alley leading to his house.
“I think it is time for the government through the office of the president to come and assist us,” he adds. But responding to the allegation made by Mr. Tweh, the Liberia Disaster Management Agency says it is fully concerned about the living conditions of people that fire and flood disasters made homeless in recent times.
The Agency says it is currently working on modalities while at the same time holding consultations with partners and government to see reason in helping the victims.
The Acting Deputy Executive Director at the Liberia Disaster Management Agency Mr. Fairnoh Theo Gbilah told this paper in an exclusive interview Tuesday, 27 February that the agency has started assessment on the number of citizens that are being affected by various forms of disaster in the country.
“Most often we been getting funding from the donors, but I think it is about time that government takes ownership in providing the support by engaging them, though the government just got started but there are more to be done,” he says.
Mr. Gbilah notes that the essence of the establishment of the National Disaster Agency is to see how they can be more proactive than being reactive. He adds that they are not just waiting for the disaster to strike before going to identify with victims, but how they can begin mitigation measures aimed at reducing the risks involved in the disaster incidents.
Mr. Gbilah says the Agency cannot always rely on partners because government at times has to take some lead roles in handling its affairs. As such, Mr. Gbilah discloses that they are engaging the government to have budgetary allotment that will help in responding to disaster incidents.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley