January 23, 2018 By Victoria Saffa
A group of young Sierra Leoneans living in the United States of America – the United States Sierra Leonean Association – on Monday 22nd January donated food and non-food items worth over eight thousand United States Dollars to victims of the August 14th mudslide and flood at the Gbamgba-Yila camp in Freetown.
The donated items include thirty bags of rice, clothes, shoes, among a host of other items. The donation was part of continuous support by the group to victims of the August 14th mudslide and flood that left more than 5,000 people dead, many more missing and thousands displaced.
Making the donation, president of the association, Aruna Malam Thallay said the day was characterised by sorrow, recalling what happened on August 14th in Freetown.
“We saw horrible pictures of our own people and that left us with no alternative but to contribute in our little way,” he said.
Mr. Thallay called on the victims not to lose hope, nothing that what affected them was terrible, but noted that all was not lost.
“Today, we are here to sympathise with you because we know lot of you lost your properties and some people are still struggling with basic needs. We also know that there are students and children whose parents cannot adequately care for, due to what happened during the disaster. These items will not take away the pains you suffered during that period and will not replace what you lost, but it is a sign that your brothers and sisters living in the United States of America know about your plight and the reason for this donation. We will continue to do more and we hope and pray that God will continue to provide for you,” he said.
Representative from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Fatmata Asumana thanked the group for the generous donation, noting that government was always looking forward to Sierra Leoneans abroad giving back to their country.
She said the mudslide left a devastating effect on a number of people who continue to grapple with every day’s life, noting that government cannot do everything for those people, hence they welcome such donations.
Madam Ansumana called on victims to make very good use of the donated items, adding that there were other communities affected by the flooding that are also in need of help. “But you are opportune to have it. These items are meant for you and not to be sold. Items of this nature will continue to reach you if you continue to make use of what have been donated.”
Community Chief, Pa Allimamy Sesay, while receiving the items on behalf of the victims thanked the donors for thinking about them and making such a donation.
“We know there are a lot of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora but you chose to support us with these items, God will bless you,” he said.
However, chief Sesay expressed concern over the poor road network within the community, coupled with the lack of other amenities.
Community residents, he said, have been suffering since after the mudslide.
“Many of our people lost everything and up till now some are yet to have a place to sleep.”
He called on government and other well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to come to their aid and provide them with more support.
Mabinty Kamara was one of the beneficiaries and was full of praise for the donation. She narrated what she went through during the disaster and stated that she lost everything except her life.
“This donation will go a long way in helping us,” she said.
Financial Secretary of the association, Emmanuel Roberts, informed the gathering that the donated items were bought with funds from individual members of the association.
“All of the items here cost around eight thousand five hundred United States Dollars and these are funds and materials from Sierra Leoneans living in the United States of America,” he said.
He said the group is based in New York and that when the disaster occurred they decided to come home and help.
“This is not the first donation and it will not be the last,” he promised.