A team of officials headed by the Minister of State, in the Vice President’s Office Balogun Koroma, have completed a day assessment tour of Koidu, Kono District. The visit came exactly at a time when heavy winds blew across the District, leaving many houses and property destroyed by the wind.
Addressing victims, Balogun Koroma said that his presence in Kono is to convey messages of condolence to victims on behalf of the President and Vice President. He said that the government was taken aback on hearing the news about the disaster; and that their prompt response would serve as a test case for the government. He noted that the delegation also includes experts to assess the damage and make recommendations.
The Minister then presented three hundred (300) bags of rice and cash amounting ten million leones to the disaster victims. He said the gift is just the beginning and that the government would explore all other means in order to adequately address the problem.
Representing the United Nations, Alpha Sesay pointed out that his organization is prepared to stand by the people of Kono at all times. He further reiterated that immediately after the disaster struck, the U.N in collaboration with the government conveyed an emergency meeting to plan the way forward. He said the U.N is planning another meeting with all country team officials later this month and that his organization would work closely with the Office of National Security, in an effort to support the government. He also disclosed that he was impressed with the move made by the victims themselves in trying to rebuild their houses, before any assistance from government or donor agencies.
Responding the District Council Chairman, John Yambasu expressed gratitude to the President and the party for the gesture. He said that the All People Congress had indeed proved itself to the people of Kono and that it was not a mistake when they voted in President Koroma.
He commended Chiefs and Councilors for coming together to address the issue and also caution victims to desist from deforestation and instead embark on tree planting, which he said could avert further disasters of this nature.
On behalf of the victims, Sahr Komba lauded the efforts of government and also pleaded with the Minister to do more as he and others are now dwelling in the open.
By Jon-Bu in Kono