Monrovia – Smiles could not cease from the faces of Waterside fire disaster victims as they were presented cash of US$100,000 by the government of Liberia towards the restructuring of their businesses and the reconstruction of their homes.
On August 15, 2021, a truck belonging to Aminata and Sons carrying fuel caught fire at the exhaust of the truck.
According to reports, after the truck caught fire, the driver lost control of it and after futilely struggling to bring it to a complete stop; he jumped out of it and fled.
The uncontrolled truck fell off at the intersection of Buchanan and Front Streets and went down the ditch to Water Street – falling on houses and stores, burst into wild flames. Eight persons were seriously injured and several stores and homes destroyed.
Few days after the tragedy incident, President George Weah met with victims to console them. There at the meeting, after listening to their plights, the Liberian leader assures the victims of his support in helping to revamp the homes and the businesses that got damaged by the fire.
Representing the President, the Minister of State Nathaniel McGill delivered the amount of US$100,000 to individuals that got affected by the fire incident.
“When the President went to Waterside, he made a personal commitment and I have come to fulfill it on his behalf,” Minister McGills said at the Monrovia City Hall.
He added: “This gesture here today is actually for the people who got affected by the fire incident at Waterside. The President made a commitment that he will personally give his contribution as a way of providing the opportunity for those businesses that got affected –to begin to do something.”
The Minister further said, “During his visit the President told his friends that were affected that he will make a contribution of US$100,000 as his personal contribution and today I am to make this contribution on behalf of the President and I want you guys to receive it in good faith.”
Minister McGill after speaking turned the money over to the Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee for onward presentation.
The Monrovia City Mayor appreciated President Weah for living up to his commitment; something he says has put smiles on the faces of the fire victims.
Mayor Koijee also encouraged the leadership of the fire victims to utilize the money for its intended purpose and cautioned Aminata and Sons Incorporated to do the honorable thing to avoid public outcry.
“We understand that Aminata and Sons has decided to reach out. We will allow them to come forth,” Mayor Koijee stressed.
“What occurred in Waterside was extremely catastrophic. The people were seriously affected. As the people begin to pick up their broken pieces, Aminata and Sons should also do the honorable thing. We do not want the public to be disappointed in the way Aminata and Sons will conduct itself in this situation,” he said.
Speaking further, Mayor Koijee called on other individuals including NGOs, civil society organizations, and international partners to reach out to the victims of the Waterside fire incident as was done by President Weah.
Mayor Koijee also turned over the money to the Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency Mr. Henry O. Williams. Koijee at the same time called the National Disaster Management Agency to provide supervision over the distribution process of the money.
Mr. Williams, before turning the money over to the victims, praised the President for his gesture to the fire victims, something he says has never happened in the country’s history.
“This is the first humanitarian intervention I have ever seen. There is nowhere a President will take money and say give it to victims. The President is the first respondent when it comes to disaster and his record is good. Every time disaster happens, his present is always felt,” Mr. Williams said.
Mohammed Maja Barry is the Head of the Fula Business Association in Liberia. After receiving the money from the National Disaster Management Agency Head; Mr. Barry said the gesture from the President is a dream come true.
“As the president of the Fula Business Association in Liberia, I have never seen such a gesture happen in the history of this country,” Mr. Barry said
He added: “You (President Weah) kept your words, when you came to Waterside; you told us that you were going to do something. You have demonstrated to us, this is not politics; you have fulfilled your promise. What you have done for us is not by force but you did it because you are the father of this nation and you have a good heart for your people. We pray that God gives you wisdom to lead this country.”
Mr. Barry also praised the Liberia National Fire Service, the Liberia National Police including the Monrovia City Police for their quick response in putting the situation under control.