Liberia: Bassa to Feed 500 Disadvantaged People as Coronavirus Rages On

Rice and dried fish loaded at the back of Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh’s pickup

GRAND BASSA COUNTY – As the deadly Coronavirus virus rages on, the county administration of Grand Bassa has announced it is taking up a major initiative to care for approximately five hundred “disabled residents”.

The arrangement includes rationing of food and basic preventive materials which have been recommended by health experts to keep communities safe.

Early Thursday Morning, County Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh began the distribution of rice and fish to about seven homes in and out of Buchanan City.

“We have come to present these food items to you as a means of keeping you up in the face of the national state of emergency declared by the president as of yesterday”. Superintendent Janjay Biakpeh told the caretaker at the Central Buchanan Old Folks Home early Thursday Morning. “We have to ensure that those of you who cannot see or move freely by yourself are cared for in these difficult coronavirus times”.

The distribution also benefited the Center for the Blind, the Christina Association of the Blind in Four Houses, the Group of 77 Disable Headquarters, MODUC Home which hosts the Mission for Orphans Disadvantage and Unaccompanied Children in Tarr Barr Community, Buchanan City.

Peter D. Jimmy, County Coordinator for the “Group of 77” responding to the donation said “on behalf of the group we are happy for our father (Janjay Baikpeh) and others. They are always there for us when we are in need so may God bless them”

Jimmy prayed that others will follow suit and see the disabled community in Grand Bassa has partner in the fight against the coronavirus disease which is known as COVID-19.

“We hope that other people will follow suit and reach out to the disadvantage people that cannot provide for themselves”, Mr. Jimmy said before adding that global steel giant Arcelor Mittal has already visited the home and supplied them with food, buckets, and other “basic necessities”

The distribution of rice by the county authority is made possible by the managing director of the National Port Authority- Bill Twehway who handed county authorities with 100 bags of rice and several tons of sea fish.

Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh said beginning Friday, he will ensure the distribution reaches “additional number” of disabled or disadvantaged people in the rest of the four districts which including; Wee Statutory District, Electoral Districts 2, 4 and Five.

Speaking to the possibility of sustaining the distribution beyond the period of the state of emergency which is yet to be approved by the Legislature, the Bassa Superintendent said he has begun engagement with all the concessions in the county to help keep up the initiative.

“These concessions must help us. In fact, we have had some of them responding already with the likes of the Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC), Arcelor Mittal, Equatorial Plam Oil, Hotel Buchanan, and others who have so far come in with buckets and detergents and thermometers”, Superintendent Baikpeh unveiled.

Superintendent Janjay Biakpeh offloading rice at the Christian Association of the Blind home on Four Houses Road in Lower Haighlandville, Buchanan on Thursday

He continued: “We have to still engage them to convince them to see the need to help people who cannot see, I mean those of our brothers and sisters who cannot walk and those of our people who just cannot find daily bread for themselves. This is the only way we can achieve the president’s dream of developing the country and caring for one another”.

Earlier on Tuesday of this week leading to the announcement of the state of emergency by President Weah, Grand Bassa authorities announced heightened measures that according to them can help stop the spread of COVID 19.

As part of the measures, the county administration was given straight authorization to ensure shutdown of all places of worship, decongest market and ensures the safety of passengers and motorists.

They also approved US $5,000.00 for the purchase of hand-washing buckets and massive awareness about the deadly COVID-19 through various community radios in the districts.

On Sunday, March 5, 2020, Churches in Buchanan remained opened and welcomed huge congregations as people went about their normal business to attend markets with small gathering at minor beverage shops.

But the Bassa Superintendent vowed that the county authority has put in place a “zero-tolerance restriction” that will see it enforce all the recommendations proffered by health experts.

The Superintendent said “I have told the police, the immigration and all other security apparatus in the county to be vigilant and enforce the social distancing protocol to its fullest without fear or favor. We will not allow people to endanger others and I, as Superintendent, will ensure a full enforcement of the President’s mandate”,

A major meeting of the county administration and representatives of the Liberia Marketing Association in Grand Bassa County is scheduled for Monday.

At the meeting, they are expected to instruct the local LMA authorities to ensure that people with non- essential goods are ordered to stay away from the markets.

Only the sale of essential items like food, detergents and basic household materials will be permitted at markets in the county to encourage social distancing in line with the COVID-19 health regulation.

Already, Liberia has recorded 31 total confirmed cases, 24 active cases, three total recoveries and 4 deaths. There are also a total of 10 suspected cases and more than 300 contacts raising fear in the population.

Globally COVID-19 has infected 1,536,091, caused 89,877 deaths with 340,075 in 209 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances. 

The U.S. remains the country with the highest number of infections at more than 402,000, but Italy is the country with highest death toll with 17,669 fatalities.

After appearing in China in December 2019, the virus has spread to at least 200 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, and can be fatal. Most people who become infected will exhibit moderate symptoms, but it can be especially fatal for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma.