14th Street Fire Victims Seek Refuge in Video Club

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Folks rendered homeless by the fire on 14th Street received food items from the Miracle for the Homeless Foundation.

Victims of a fire incident on 14th Street, Sinkor are pleading with government and humanitarian organizations to come to their aid, following an October 16 fire which gutted several homes in Negangbo Community on 14th Street, leaving several valuables destroyed.

Although there are conflicting reports on the cause of the fire, no human casualty was recorded. Authorities of the community said about 150 persons were rendered homeless. About eighty of them, including women and children, are being temporarily sheltered at video clubs, churchyards, and neighbor homes.

The victims have expressed disappointment in the government for not making immediate intervention since the incident occurred nearly two weeks ago.

The Chairman of the community, Moses F. Williams said since two staffers from the office of Montserrado district #9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood visited the area on a fact finding mission, they have not returned.

“We have not received anybody, including our district lawmaker. On Wednesday evening, I received two staff members from the Honorable Munah Pelham-Youngblood’s office, who told me that the representative is supposed to be with us here but she’s attending an urgent meeting. They said she would be here on Thursday, but since then we have not seen her. I don’t want to pre-empt”, the chairman informed our reporter.

Chairman Williams said most of the affected residents have not found any decent place to stay, saying “most of the people are staying in the video clubs, in the churchyard, they don’t have shelter. Unfortunately, whenever the video club owner wants to run his show, the people wait outside until sometimes 1am or 2am before going to bed.”

Esther Barlay, 25, a mother of four, says she sleeps in the video club along with her kids and husband.

“I sleep in the video club. Everything I had left in the fire. I don’t even have a mattress to sleep on. We manage to lay our heads on the mattress of our friends in the video club”, Esther noted.

When asked how she manages with life outside her home, another woman, Ruth Mango, a mother of five, says she has to borrow cooking utensils from neighbors to cook.

“We are about eighty persons in the video club. Life in the video club is embarrassing. Just imagine, I have to beg for people’s pot before I cook. We’re asking the government to come to our aid” Ruth said.

Some of the kids seeking temporary shelter at the video club say they are at the mercy of the video club’s customers. Blessing, 16, says “We have no choice. Anytime the people show finish we can go to bed. I want the government to help us build new house for us.”

Two kids, only identified as Moses and Reuben, age 10 and 6 respective are appealing to the government to help them.

Meanwhile, a humanitarian organization, “Miracle For The Homeless” Foundation, during the week presented some food items to the devastated residents. Founded by Madam Miracle Gbayee, a Liberian residing in the United States, the foundation donated 40 bags of 25kg rice, oil and other food items, valued at US$1,700.

The foundation’s executive director, Varney Paye Saiwhean, said the chief patron of the organization was touched by the fire report.

“We planned series of activities for this year and this one was never part of it,” Saiwhean said. “Our last event was to take place in New Kru Town but, because of this fire incident, we decided to suspend that one to focus here”, Varney told the fire victims.”

According to him, the foundation has embarked on the construction of a home on the Robertsfield highway for the purpose of sheltering people made homeless by disaster. He said everything the foundation is involved in is being financed by Madam Miracle Gbayee, its founder.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

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