Liberia: Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Respond to Fire Disaster Victims in Monrovia
Monrovia – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with Caritas-Monrovia has begun responding to victims of a fire disaster that devastated over eight homes in the Kissi-Camp Community, the Borough of New Kru Town.
The fire incident took place during the night hours of February 16, 2019, leaving 161 persons, including women and children homeless.
However, CRS in collaboration with Caritas have begun initial intervention with a cash donation of US$9,720.00 to 39 households affected by the incident.
CRS Country Representative, Bill Rastetter, told FrontPageAfrica in an interview on Wednesday that apart from cash, they are also providing food and non-food items to the victims.
“We are doing a first response to their needs, so that they can be able to find alternative housing,” Mr. Rastetter said.
According to him, Wednesday’s donation is half of a total cash donation intended for victims of the disaster.
Mr. Rastetter explained that the cash distribution was done in line with the number of victims occupying various households.
He asserted that CRS team will do a visitation at the disaster site within two weeks period to ascertain how the first portion of cash donations are being used by the victims before presenting them the remaining cash.
However, Rastetter clarified that CRS will not force victims who have received the first portion of the cash donation to undertake specific project, but at the same time, he encouraged them to use their money to better address pressing challenges faced by them.
Prior to the response, Rastetter noted that Caritas-Monrovia went to the disaster site and held discussions with local officials and victims before contacting CRS for needed assistance.
“CRS was able to mobilize funds that will be distributed over the following month. This intervention was made possible with funding from CRS and implemented by Caritas-Monrovia in collaboration with the Liberia National Disaster Management Agency,” Rastetter added.
The CRS Country Representative also expressed concern about the housing situation of the victims and promised to work with partners to ensure housing for them.
He at the same time maintained that CRS and Caritas-Monrovia have been working with the National Disaster Management Agency to educate victims and other nearby residents on preventive measures to avoid reoccurrence of fire incident in that community.
Rastetter said: “CRS has existed for about 75 years now and after the 1990 war they have redesigned it to respond to emergency situation in Liberia.”
Receiving the cash donation, one of the victims Joseph Tamba lauded CRS and partners for identifying with them promptly.
Mr. Tamba said the fire incident has created a serious setback for him and the cash donation will be used to address some of his challenges.
“As I speak to you, some of this money will be used to start my house project immediately tomorrow and some will be used to buy food for my family,” Mr. Tamba said.
Another victim, Mary Kollie said the donation serves as a rescue to their current situation.
She lamented that some victims are still sleeping outdoor since the disaster occurred.
“I am going right now to look for area to rent, and I will take some of this money to do business,” Mary averred.
Madam Kollie in the same way stated that since the incident, CRC along with Caritas have been the first to identify with victims of the Kissi-Camp Community in New Kru Town.
The Borough of New Kru Town has been faced with fire disaster in recent days, with the latest being the Popo Beach fire disaster that burnt down 20 houses.