About 19 houses and one Nursery School are confirmed to have been burnt down to ashes and 90 people made homeless in constituency 34 in Briwa Chiefdom Bombali district, north of Sierra Leone last month.
This disclosure was made over the weekend by the ruling party’s constituency Chairman and member of the Biriwa Descendants Union in constituency 34, Mr. Paul Samba Conteh.
According to him, on the 23rd January 2016 a small girl was reported to have been cooking a meal in the Secondary school, which shared boundaries with WCSL Nursery school at Kamabai.
During this time, a heavy wind was blowing and some sparks of fire entered the bush which caused the fire accident.
“Although the place was clear and the bush close to where the girl was cooking was small, yet, the fire went out of hands, even though they youths within the village tried in putting the fire under control but to no avail”, He said.
Explaining further, Mr. Conteh said the Nursery school was built by Munafa under Child Fund organization, adding that the building is bounded by a fence, which according to him created difficulties in accessing the building.
He said foodstuffs such as rice and groundnut which were kept in the store were all destroyed.
“We thank God no body died in all the three villages where the fire outbreak occurred, although properties worth millions of leones were lost,” he added.
He pointed out that on 23rd January 2016, out of the three Villages in the Chiefdom, one Nursery school and a dwelling house in Kamabai was burnt down. On the 27th January 2016, at Kamakoli village, which is situated eight miles away from Kamabai a total of ten houses was burnt down completely because all the youth in the Village were not around. This left 30 people homeless, with no shelter and clothes.
Penultimate week, precisely on the 29th January 2016, he said, Kagbaneh Village on the highway between Kamabai and Makeni eight (8) houses were destroyed by the fire and 35 people are presently homeless.
He noted that the roofing of several houses is done with grass with very few houses roofed with zinc in those Villages.
“During the outbreak, the Paramount Chief Salifu Mannah Kalawa called the village youths and the Fire Force at Makeni to help in putting the situation under control, even though the distance is 26 miles. Fire Force came and did all they could in controlling the situation,” said Mr. Conteh.
He thanked and appreciated the efforts of the Makeni Fire Fore authorities for their timely intervention. He expressed frustration over the situation of the children whose school was burnt down, stating that they have to sit on the floor because their benches were all destroyed.
Asked what his plans are as Chairman for the constituents, he said “Presently we have a group called BIRIWA DESCENDANTS UNION comprising sons and daughters of this Chiefdom both at home and abroad and we are thinking of putting mechanisms in place to savage the situations with support from government and NGOs”.
He disclosed that during the Ebola outbreak the descendants did not sit by and have their feets crossed, hands folded and waiting on government to help, they were able to mobilize resources and participated fully in preventing the Ebola virus from entering their Chiefdom.
He called on government and other International NGOs to come to their aid in providing support for the people whom have been made homeless. He said it would be odd and disastrous if they continue in such conditions on to the raining season.
“For now, we have held meetings with the constituents and we are putting a robust mechanism and strategies in place to tackle any future fire outbreak,” he concluded.