By: Aminata S. Kromah
Totota, Bong County-December 28, 2023: In a devastating incident on December 26, 2023, a gasoline tanker explosion rocked Totota in Bong County, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, death, and injuries.
Those killed in the fire included a pregnant woman who had rushed to retrieve her daughter from the accident scene when the tanker exploded, tragically killing her along with her daughter and husband.
The family’s poignant story is just one among the tales of sorrow emerging from this devastating incident, as some victims had traveled from other places to celebrate Christmas in Totota, only to meet an untimely demise.
The Liberia National Red Cross Society as a first responder was swift in mobilizing a dedicated team of emergency responders to collaborate with local authorities, including the County Health Team, to manage the crisis on the ground.
The Secretary General of the Liberia National Red Cross Society Gregory T. Blamoh, expressed the urgency of their response, stating, “Our primary concern is to provide immediate assistance to those affected by this tragic incident. The Red Cross team is on the ground, working tirelessly to support local efforts in handling the aftermath of the explosion.
“The Red Cross played a crucial role in the recovery and burial process, ensuring that the ten lives lost, including that of a pregnant woman, were treated with the utmost respect and dignity.
Mr. Blamoh expressed deep sorrow over the tragic turn of events, stating, “Our hearts go out to every family affected by this unfathomable tragedy.
The Secretary General of the Liberian Red Cross emphasized, “”In our ongoing efforts, we’ve supplied body bags, collected the charred remains of ten casualties and are closely collaborating with local authorities and the County Health Team to ensure a dignified and respectful burial for those who were killed in the fire. Our thoughts remain with the affected families.
“Mr. Blamoh expressed his and the Liberia National Red Cross Society’s condolences to the families of the deceased and underscored the Red Cross’s commitment to standing united with the community during these difficult times. “We extend heartfelt condolences to those affected by the tragic fire in Totota, Bong County.
“Our team is on-site, collaborating with local authorities and stakeholders to manage the aftermath. We stand united in supporting the community’s efforts for a dignified farewell to those we lost”, he said.
“Wishing strength and swift recovery to the injured. Together, we shall navigate these challenging times.”The Red Cross’s involvement extends beyond physical support, recognizing the emotional toll on the affected communities. Mr. Blamoh stated, “The situation is troubling.
“We do not only address the physical needs of affected communities and people but also support their emotional well-being. As such, we will continue to work with the affected people in Totota to provide psychosocial support. Blamoh said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has announced that a total of 48 persons have died from the explosion and more than 40 others still on critical list.
The Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) is a humanitarian organization committed to providing assistance and support to the most vulnerable communities in Liberia. With a focus on disaster response, community resilience, and health services, the LNRCS works tirelessly to alleviate suffering and promote a compassionate society.