-As Rep. Rustolyn Dennis provides relief items, appeals for more assistance
Montserrado County Electoral District #4 Representative Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis yesterday went out not only to say words of sympathy to flood affected residents, but to assist them with some relief items. Dennis also appealed to humanitarian organizations for help to the flood affected residents.
Over 2000 residents in the Garza, Olympic, Sorto, Nuflehn and Lofa neighborhoods of Soul Clinic and Omega Communities are currently sheltered at school and church buildings as well as with friends and relatives.
Reminiscent of the war days in Liberia, many left their homes in an effort to save their lives or that of a child or a neighbor, and without any extra clothing, bedding, food or utensils with which to prepare their meals.
Accompanied by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) led by police spokesperson Moses Carter, Rep. Dennis gave away L$100,000, 40 bags of 25kg rice and 40 4-inch mattresses to the affected residents. She assured them of her commitment to lobby for more support in order to alleviate their ordeal.
“I am deeply touched by the difficult situation with which my people are faced now. It is a natural disaster, but in some ways, we can be of help in the process, not only by bringing in food and other items, but by making a clarion call to government to see reason and do something to mitigate the situation,” Dennis told journalists as she toured the affected neighborhoods.
She said earlier she paid a visit to the office of National Disaster Management (NDM) and reported the plight of her people with a strong conviction that the NDM as well as the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW), tasked with overseeing zoning and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that gives advice on imminent environmental risks, will come in with help of all kinds, to save the communities from further natural disaster.
About the police’s presence during the tour, LNP Spokesperson Moses Carter said their job is to save lives and properties. As such, environmental or natural disasters are possible threats to the lives and properties of people who are always affected by them.
“We have informed all of our zone commanders, particularly those in areas where there is always flood during rainy season, to identify with those affected by helping them escape whatever danger that may lie ahead. They were here yesterday (Tuesday) and we have come today too to continue ensuring that our people are safe,” Carter said.
He said unlike the past in Liberia when police were seen as a force only interested in going after perpetrators of crimes, “value has been added to the police by rendering service to communities.”
The exercise, which Rep. Suacoco spearheaded on Tuesday and Wednesday this week was, according to the affected residents is the first of its kind from a sitting lawmaker since people of the district began experiencing disaster from flood over the years.
William Wonzo, chairman of Garza neighborhood, said he and his fellow affected residents are grateful to Rep. Dennis for her timely intervention and hope that other humanitarians, including NGOs, will come in with more assistance.
“We are thankful to her and we also look forward to central government, particularly the office of President George Manneh Weah as well as the offices of the vice President, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, and Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers, to come and help us,” Wonzo said.
Benkeo Tarty, one of the residents of Nuflehn Town whose house completely broke down due to the flood, said while it is true that the rain fell in torrents, there was an overflow from a river known as Bo which is not far from where they have built their homes.
“We saw water just coming towards our houses with force. When we came outside to check what was the problem, we realized that it was not only because rain had fallen here but that the river too is full and now overflowing on the land,” Tarty said.
Eleven houses in which people were living were discovered broken down as a result of the flood.