MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberian government is appealing for humanitarian aid to provide relief to victims and bereaved families of the affected mudslide community in Nimba.
The mudslide left at least 40 alleged illicit gold miners trapped in a mine in Gbanipea, Nimba on February 10. Only a few of the miners were rescued, and eight of the illegal miners were recovered dead following a rescue and recovery mission launched by the National Disaster Management Agency.
The agency’s director, Henry Williams, said the situation also affected farming activities in Gbanipea, and polluted water sources. According to Williams, the government is seeking assistance in the form of food, water, medication, and other items to provide to the victims and members of the community.
He said following an appeal from President George Weah, ArcelorMittal has already provided 200 bags of rice, 500 sacks of mineral water, 20 boxes of cooking oil, 60 pieces of mattresses and other assistance. He said Abi Jaoudi supermarket also donated additional 100 bags of rice, 160 cartons of frozen chicken, and 50 tins of cooking oil, while Orange Liberia promise to provide 400 bags of rice, US$500 worth of oil, and US$50 worth of water.
At the same time, he said CEMENCO and other businesses have promised to respond to the president’s appeal.
He disclosed that the technical committee set up by the president headed by Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf is also still responding to the situation and has provided medical treatment for 25 individuals. Psychosocial counseling is also being offered to families who lost their relatives to the mudslide. Although Gbanipea had no established latrine facility prior to the disaster, the agency’s director said the technical committee is now also providing a waste management system to the town.
He also disclosed that the illegal mining site is inaccessible to vehicles and other moving equipment, thus making the recovery mission challenging. He said at least 60 men are deployed in the mine to recover the bodies.
“It is not a recognized mining site and mining there was done illegally. Anything that is illegal is hard to deal with,” he said.
Featured photo by Mafanta Kromah