By: Zacharia Jalloh,
Strategic Communications Unit- MIC.
On Friday, August 27, 2021, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio doled millions of leones to business people affected by a fire disaster in March this year at King Jimmy.
The President who is renowned for his profound interest in the welfare of people extended a helping hand to traders who bore the brunt of an inferno earlier this year that gutted down their places of business.
In the early hours of March 5, 2021, fire engulfed stalls belonging to business people in the King Jimmy (Belgium) area of Freetown leading to considerable loss of cash and property. There was an immeasurable loss of properties but no fatalities were recorded. According to a Damage Loss Assessment (DLA) carried out by the Disaster Management Department of the Office of National Security (ONS), the estimated loss exceeded Le 5 billion, including the razing of three houses to the ground.
The assessment report was sent to the offices of the Chief Minister and the President. After a thorough assessment, It was decided that there is a need to support the 88 affected businesses with cash transfers.
On Friday 27th August 2021, President Bio in a ceremony held at the affected area, gave each of the beneficiaries Le 10,000,000 cash to help them rebuild their lives and businesses.
The President in his statement encouraged the traders to be steadfast as his government, through the National Disaster Management Agency, will continue to work in salvaging the plight of people affected by the disaster. "We as government care for the people, that is why I didn't send anyone here but myself because I want to support you all to get back to your feet," the President remarked
Talking to few beneficiaries, they shared the same sentiment with the President and thanked him for salvaging them. Some of them said they had lost hope after the disaster of March but that President Bio has restored their hopes and promised to put the money into good use.
The National Disaster Management Agency will track the beneficiaries to see the impact of these cash transfers.