The management of ArcelorMittal Liberia has presented a consignment of relief items, including food and non-food items, to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for onward distribution to victims of the recent gold mine disaster in Gbonepea, Tappita District, Nimba County.
Items donated by the iron ore mining company include 200 bags of 25kg rice, 500 sacks of pure mineral water, 20 boxes of cooking oil, 60 pieces of mattresses and five bales of used clothes. In early February, about 45 miners were reportedly trapped under debris when the walls of an artisanal gold mine in Gbonepea, Tappita caved-in on them.
About eight bodies have since been recovered. Hopes of recovering others alive continues to dwindle by the day as the lack of earth-moving machines and other equipment to aid in the rescue mission continued to pose a challenge to the ongoing rescue mission. Speaking at the donation ceremony at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Monrovia on Wednesday, the Government Relations Superintendent of ArcelorMittal, Gus B. Knowlden, expressed deepest sympathy on behalf of the company and affirmed that the donation is the company’s way of showing sympathy with the bereaved families.
Knowlden indicated that because ArcelorMittal is also operating in Nimba County where the disaster occurred, it is binding on the company to show concern as a way of identifying with the families of the victims. Receiving the donation, Internal Affairs Minister Varney A. Sirleaf lauded ArcelorMittal for their timely intervention which, according to him, is aimed at addressing some of the numerous problems currently being faced by victims of the disaster.
Sirleaf disclosed that upon the establishment of the National Technical Committee which was charged with the responsibility to respond to the disaster, he and his team began contacting members of the business community to solicit resources for the victims of the affected areas.
The Internal Affairs Minister indicated that the donation in Monrovia is symbolic, noting that the items will be taken to Nimba where they will be distributed equitably among members of the affected communities. Sirleaf revealed that Abi Jaoudi, Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, Orange Liberia, Fouta Corporation and CEMENCO have also committed themselves to provide food items which include rice, chicken, cooking oil, water, and onion, among other items.