In the aftermath of the Wellington explosion, FCC’s Disaster Response Continues

It has been a little over three months since the tragic fuel tanker explosion at PMB Wellington. Yet, our efforts to support struggling victims and their families have not ceased. Together with the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), we have provided direct cash transfers to the victims of the Wellington explosion from the funds raised in an independent fundraising.

Creating a legitimate process for direct cash delivery demanded significant efforts from numerous stakeholders. The cash transfers required both a verified list of affected people AND an approved method of cash delivery. For the former, the FCC disaster response team liaised with the contact tracing team led by NDMA to consolidate and verify the list of all people impacted by the disaster; MOHS and NaCRA also attended meetings to harmonise and further verify the data. We established an effective cash delivery method in collaboration with Africell. During the past two months, the representatives from SLMDA, the FCC, including Councillor Arthur Shekie Mansaray (ward 403), and volunteers from All For One NGO managed the distribution of specially-issued SIM cards to the registered beneficiaries at Wellington by confirming their identities and recording them in a dedicated Africell SLMDA Portal from which the money is being transferred.

The total budget of Le406,222,944 is being distributed among 257 families verified to have been affected by the disaster, with some families having multiple members being victim of the fire. On Friday, we started cash transfers of Le1.45 million per victim to the 194 verified families that had already picked up their SIM cards. We urge those families who have not yet done it to contact Councillor Arthur or All For One NGO at Wellington.

On this occasion, we would like to express our extreme gratitude to every donor and individual who gracefully offered their contribution – financial or otherwise – to mitigate the short and long term effects and consequences of this devastating disaster. We remain grateful to all the teams involved for effective collaboration that enabled direct help to the victims. We would like to thank all individuals who contributed to our fundraising on the JustGiving website, the Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone to Texas and the Association of Sierra Leonean Organization in Texas (ASLOT), Krio Descendants Union and an anonymous donor who contributed with a significant part of the financial help we are now able to extend to the affected families.

Freetown City Council (FCC) supported the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) to raise over £47,000 to help the victims and their families. ​​The funds raised came from four sources:

  • Online fundraiser on JustGiving
  • Donation from Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone to Texas and the Association of Sierra Leonean Organization in Texas (ASLOT)
  • Krio Descendants Union
  • Anonymous donor

In addition to the cash transfers, we have provided logistical support from funds raised in two other areas:

Nutritional supplies for patients and medical workers

As part of the immediate response to the disaster, our attention was focused on the burn victims affected by the explosion. Through our initial conversations with doctors and several meetings at EOC and NDMA, we identified that the patients admitted to Connaught and 34 Military hospitals were in dire need of high-protein nutrition to recover. In collaboration with SLMDA, NDMA Nutrition Pillar leads, and with input from nutritionists at both hospitals, we have decided to provide high-protein nutrition three times a day for burn patients in both hospitals until January. We have also provided food for the medical staff who treated the patients for the first 2 weeks of the response. In addition, we supplied the urgently required high protein supplements Ensure for patients at Connaught and 34 Military Hospital.

Medical supplies

At the first EOC meeting after the disaster, it became clear that there was a critical need for the rapid purchase and delivery of burns-related medical supplies available in-country. Large quantities of medical supplies and equipment were ordered, however, processing these deliveries through the National Medical Supply Agency was a lengthy process. Gauze, antibiotics, and other medical supplies were needed within hours. SLMDA received critical technical support from members of the Mayor’s Delivery Unit at FCC to design a system for the rapid provision of medical supplies which met strict criteria.