The Government of Liberia has identified with victims of a devastating flood that swept through the Old Kru Community in Harper City, Maryland County.
The flood incident, which occurred on June 1, affected more than 10 homes and rendered more than 200 people homeless.
As a way of restoring hope by identifying with the victims, the government, through President Ellen Johnson, last Wednesday donated US$10,000 to the victims.
She made the donation when she visited the victims, many of whom are presently seeking shelter in the UNMIL compound in Harper and other communities.
The Liberian leader told the victims that the donation was government’s little way saying “never mind” to them for such an unfortunate situation.
She clarified that the money will not be given to them directly as individuals, but has been deposited in a local bank from where it will be used to buy zinc and other building materials to begin the process of building new homes for them to start life anew.
The Liberian leader called on the leadership of the county to ensure that the victims are relocated from the Old Kru Town community because it has now been established that the area is flood-prone.
She mandated the local authorities to demolish every other structure in the area and try to do some tree planting to prevent future flooding.
“We have been told that every two years flooding takes place and you people have to lose your belongings and start all over again.
“I don’t really want you people to go back to that place. You all know that that place becomes flooded every two years; so there is no need for you to go back there. I learned that plans are underway for you people to be relocated some where better,” she said.
President Sirleaf made a personal donation of 20 bags of rice, LD$10,000 in soup kind, bags of clothes, bags of slippers and other assorted materials, to the thunderous applause of the devastated victims.
Maryland County Development Superintendent, Nathaniel Toe, told the Liberian leader that the county authorities have decided to have the victims relocated to the Jacksonville community which, according to him, is an ideal locality.
Though the land on which the victims are to be relocated is public land, the challenge that remains is how to get proper documentation so that the process may begin immediately.
“Plans are already at an advanced stage to have these people relocated to a community called Jacksonville, but the little problem we have is about acquiring documentations for the land, which we intend to work on very soon,” Mr. Toe said.
He promised to ensure that the land is surveyed and deeds are presented to each of the victims upon being relocated, so that the property may become their own.
President Sirleaf had earlier demanded that the victims, upon relocation, be given the deeds of the land so that they may “own something too.”
Marylanders’ Gratitude for University
Meanwhile, citizens of Maryland Country have expressed overwhelming gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her commitment to improving education in their county by re-opening the William V.S Tubman College and transforming it into a University.
According to them, the institution is turning Liberia’s Southern Eastern region into an academic hub and has attracted Liberians and foreign nationals.
Our reporter travelling with the President, who was in Maryland County, said the citizens, including elders, women groups and the county’s Marketing Association, said TU is gradually transforming the face of the county.
Some of them who spoke with the Daily Observer stated that upon graduation from high school, students now do not need to travel all the way to Monrovia, which is over 300 miles away, to seek higher education, as the TU also offers “quality education” that any institution of higher learning offers in Monrovia.
Thanks for Electricity
The Marylanders further thanked President Sirleaf for bringing affordable electricity through the West Africa Power Poll (WAPP) project.
The citizens said some of the major challenges that they are now facing have to do with the road and the ever-soaring exchange rate, which they said is hampering businesses in the area.
The citizens had an exchange with the President at a town hall meeting held in the Harper City Hall upon her arrival.
She arrived Wednesday morning in that coastal city. Many county officials and ordinary citizens were gathered to welcome her.