Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday 6 November 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has visited Connaught in central Freetown and 34 Military Hospital on Wilberforce, minutes after his return from abroad, to see the dead and meet survivors of the November 5 fuel tanker explosion at Wellington that claimed nearly 100 lives and left dozens in critical conditions.
The President, who arrived from England on the evening of Saturday, had suspended his post COP26 engagements in the UK and canceled his participation in Sunday’s Extraordinary Summit on the political situation in Mali and Guinea in Accra, Ghana, said he was devastated by the huge loss of lives of his compatriots.
“My condolences to the family of the bereaved. This is the worst thing to have happened to anybody. We are going to concentrate on and help those who are critically injured right now. We must learn from this unfortunate incident. I am also happy for the level of coordination by the National Disaster Management Agency, Office of the National Security, and the community.
I am impressed with the work the Vice President and his team have done since the incident happened. I am particularly grateful and thankful to the first responders, healthcare personnel in the hospitals, the police and the military who ensured the coordination of interventions and relief,” he said.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby, told the media that they had already contacted the World Health Organisation in Geneva and were very hopeful for a huge medical consignment to reach Sierra Leone in the next 24 hours.
“In terms of capacity, our initial reactions have been to provide free medical services to the victims and address their immediate biomedical, welfare and psychosocial needs. We continue to utilise the beddings we assembled for the COVID-19. At the moment we don’t have enough medical supplies,” he said.
Press Secretary, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi, said President Bio’s visit to the hospital was very reassuring and was also meant to give hope to the victims and commiserate with the bereaved families.
“The President will also visit Wellington on Sunday at 10am, around the PMB area where the incident took place, to further assess the full extent of the damage in person. He will then proceed to the Emergency Hospital at Goderich,” he said.
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