Twelve 25 kilogram bags of rice, two plastic bags of children’s slippers, plates, spoons, drinking bottles and other items with an undisclosed amount of money, were donated to 12 household heads, whose homes were gutted by fire on Christmas night.
The donations were made on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1.
The Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Matilda Wokie Parker, said in brief comments that the gifts were her personal contribution to the fire victims so they could have some consolation over the New Year.
The NPA boss expressed her regret over the pain of the fire victims who were made homeless by the blaze. Mrs. Parker expressed hope they would experience comfort from whatever meals they have from her donation.
“I got a call from my son of about this fire, and I thought it was very important to identify with the victims. I know it will be difficult for them to celebrate the New Year without a home,” Madam Parker said.
A neighbor to the fire’s victims, George Kennedy, who told Madam Parker about the disaster, said it was not a surprise owing to her “good will gestures” over the years.
Mr. Kennedy, also the President of AME Zion University’s Students Union, urged the NPA boss not to make the New Year’s donations her last, because the victims are in desperate need of building material to rebuild their homes.
Meanwhile, Jessie Barchue, one of the family heads, hailed the NPA boss for the ‘New Yea’s gifts’ describing them as a worthy donation.
He announced that prior to the NPA boss, Representative Acarous Gray donated US$600 for the reconstruction of their houses and L$6,000 for food, while the Liberian Red Cross gave them clothes, pots and other cooking utensils.
He then called on government and others to emulate the good examples of Madam Parker, Rep. Gray and the Red Cross, especially in terms of donating building materials.
He told our reporter that one of the tenants (name withheld), sent her daughter to light a candle, while she was outside cooking ‘dry rice.’ Unfortunately, the lit candle dropped on a pile of clothes and subsequently spread throughout that entire house eventually setting fire to the surrounding houses and a video club.
Barchue said, apart from the houses, video club, and items within, they lost L$150,000 and US$5,000, the total amount of their year-end ‘susu.’
“The prevalence of fire outbreaks is a serious one that has left many people homeless, especially because of candles being used in many homes as a source of light,” an employee of the NPA who accompanied Madam Parker, said in passing.