By Omar Bah
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, PURA, has Monday donated D192, 500 to the Sierra Leone and Kuntaur disaster victims.
The donation, according to the PURA DG, came after PURA was approached by the Sierra Leone Embassy sometime in August, 2017 after the mudslide hits Freetown.
Both cheques were handed over to the various beneficiaries by the minister of information at the PURA conference hall.
Speaking shortly ahead of the handing-over, the minister of information Demba Ali Jawo said when disasters strike, help and generosity become a necessity.
“When such natural disasters occur, we need to step forward and show that we are a tough and generous people who will always lend a hand to our brothers and sisters. We need to comfort each other in the face of enormous tragedy and loss of life,” he said.
He added: “We acknowledge the terrible toll of these natural disasters that occurred in Sierra Leone and in our backyard in Kuntaur, and express our condolences to the families and friends who have lost their loved ones, especially in Sierra Leone.”
“We cannot share their feelings of grief but we can give them our thoughts in the hope that, with time, healing can begin,” he said.
Minister Jawo said some of these natural disasters can be minimized if preventive strategies are adopted at personal and national level.
Individuals, he added should be mindful of their surroundings as destructive habits toward the environment alter nature, which has no mercy when it hits back.
“Therefore, we must adopt best planning policies for our countries, as these will minimize the effects of natural disasters on our people,” he said.
He said the level of damage caused by natural disasters is to a large extent dependent on a country’s disaster preparedness, as well as quality of its structures.
“As a government, we shall work with our development partners and the national disaster management agency to not only increase our disaster preparedness but have the necessary structures to minimize the occurrence and negative impact of natural disasters,” he added.
The director of general PURA, Ansumana Sanneh said the utilities authority as an independent regulator, the key sectors they regulate are not only essential services but also first line services needed to response to emergencies and disasters.
He said Gambia and Sierra Leone share a long history with strong family ties, “both also share strong economic bonds and I must point out that two of our GSM companies operate in both countries.”
DG Sanneh further disclosed that, the money was donated by NAWEC, GAMTEL, GAMCELL, Comium, Qcell, Netpage, Unique Solution and PURA.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Ambassador to The Gambia Soulayman Daramy, thanked PURA and all the donors for standing by his country in the face of an immeasurable tragedy.