FIAPLAY, Nimba – Several properties were left damaged in Central Nimba as a result of a giant storm that swept through the town of Fiaplay, in Gbor Administrative District, April 1, 2017.
The storm left at least nine properties severely damaged, including the only public school in the town. Several other properties have minor damages.
The commissioner of Gbor Administrative District, Moses Deemie, explained to reporters the frustration and regret victims now feels as a result of the damages.
“We are downhearted,” he said. “It was very disheartening, and now we are in tears and don’t know what to do.”
“The [number of] major [properties damaged] is nine and the minor ones are about 30 to 31,” Deemie said. “The major ones are the ones that were broken down completely by the wind and some, the entire roof was removed.
Deemie pointed out those houses with minor damages include those that have roofing sheets removed.
In recent times, there have been several reports of storm disaster in parts of Ganta, especially in the Valley Community where several residents were made homeless and are still recovering from the damage.
Although the people of Fiaplay have experienced wind disasters in the past, they have not been as destructive as the April 1 storm. Deemie blames deforestation activities that are carried out around the communities.
“According to my own understanding, the felling of those big, big trees around the communities by people for little or nothing… may be the cause,” he added. “But again, we have the wind we refer to as Harmattan wind. It can come anytime. It is very destructive.”
Some affected victims are seeking refuge with relatives in the town while others have to go to nearby towns to seek refuge. Deemie is calling on county authorities, the government of Liberia, humanitarian organizations, and other individuals to come to the aid of the affected persons.
Meanwhile, the principal of the Gbor Fiaplay Pubilc School, Ernest Demidee, told reporters that students are currently displaced as a result of the damage suffered by the school building.
“Right now we are displaced. Over 250 students went to school this morning. There were no seats, and there was nowhere to go,” he said. “The students were just around the campus until we came. We were supposed to commence our fourth marking period test today and we cannot administer our test.”
“I am sitting presently because I am very sad indeed for the destruction that went on,” said Washington Henry, a victim of the storm. “My building’s roof was taken off by the storm – I am outdoors and right now I am not sleeping in a conducive place.”
“Since Saturday, the storm came and broke my house down. I am completely outside,” said Mary Wainpea, owner of a five-bedroom house. “Now I don’t know what kind of thing to do now. I am only asking the government to come and help us – other NGOs [for] them to come in and help us.”
Joseph Kerkulah of Radio Kergheamahn and Raily Guambeh of Voice of Gompa contributed to this article.
Featured photo by Joseph Kerkulah