By Mark N. Mengonfia

Monrovia-Feb-5-TNR: African States The Liberia National Red Cross Society in partnership with the Economic Community of West African-States (ECOWAS) and the Disaster Management Agency has touched the lives of some Liberians who were victims of flooding in 2022.

“I am so grateful to the ECOWAS organization for this donation,” Old man Edwin G. Payne Sr., one of the flood victims who benefited from the direct cash donation said.

Explaining how often his community faces flooding, Mr. Payne said it was the fourth time they to experienced flooding in that area.

One thousand, eight hundred and forty-one (1,841) families from Montserrado and Margibi Counties who suffered from the devastating flooding that afflicted Liberia in 2022 received mobile money as recovery support in the aftermath of the 2022  flooding.

Old lady Yamah Tokpah is amongst those who benefited. Like Mr. Payne, the old lady pointing her fingers said, “When the flood comes, all over here can be water.” She expressed joy upon receiving the direct cash from the LNRC and partners.

With kids seen playing in the back, the old lady said when it rains it becomes dangerous for even the dogs. She said the dogs are swallowed by boa-constrictor adding that the provision of said money is a great help.

“The money the people gave me I bought zinc,” she said with laughter across her face.

The homes of the victims are on flat, low, wetlands which makes it very easy to be overtaken by water when it rains.

Another beneficiary, Teta Joko of the Baptist Seminary said, “The timely support from ECOWAS and the Red Cross has provided my family with the means to meet immediate needs and restore a sense of normalcy in our lives.”

For her part,  Janeba  Diggs of the Doe Community pointed out that the assistance from ECOWAS and the Red Cross has not only eased their financial burden but has also given them hope for a better future as they work towards rebuilding their lives.

ECOWAS’s commitment to aiding Liberia in the wake of the 2022 flood disaster highlights the organization’s dedication to not only political stability but also to the welfare of its member states’ citizens.

As the project unfolds, it is anticipated that thousands of lives will be positively impacted, reinforcing the idea that regional cooperation can bring much-needed relief to those facing dire circumstances.

With the help of the Liberian Red Cross funding received from ECOWAS to provide direct cash assistance to affected families to aid their recovery and payment to 700 beneficiaries, people like old lady Tokpah and old man Payne have already been completed while mobile money transfers to 1,141 families are being processed.

The cash assistance to the tune of 371,882.00 USD will directly benefit over 9,600 people representing the affected families or households in 30 affected communities including 25 in Montserrado and five in Margibi.

The flood crisis left Liberia among the hardest-hit member states within the ECOWAS region, destroying homes, disrupting basic livelihood activities, and contaminating water sources, making the aftermath of the 2022 flooding ‘extremely devastating.’

The Liberia National Red Cross Society was however designated by the National Disaster Management Agency as the implementing partner before signing an agreement with ECOWAS on its Post-Disaster Humanitarian Assistance Project in Liberia aimed at promoting recovery and enhancing resilience in the affected communities.

The Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Ambassador Josephine Nkrumah in September 2023 emphasized that flooding has emerged as a pressing humanitarian issue within the ECOWAS member states, stressing that ECOWAS is not solely focused on elections and political stability but is also committed to social interventions that address the impact of natural disasters and other pressing social issues affecting its member states.

The Liberian Red Cross has already started transferring cash through Mobile Money to the affected families. The Red Cross Secretary General Gregory T. Blamoh said the cash transfer assistance will not only enable the affected families to address their real needs but also help the beneficiaries to speed up their recovery with dignity.

“In the aftermath of these disasters, our focus remains on the well-being of affected communities and families, serving the most vulnerable within the affected communities. While our support cannot reach everyone, we are committed to prioritizing the most affected individuals including pregnant women, single mothers, people with disabilities, and those with no income.”, Mr. Blamoh has said.    

Mr. Blamoh expressed gratitude to the partner, saying, “We are forever grateful to ECOWAS for its unwavering support. We look forward to building more partnerships to address the ongoing humanitarian needs on the ground”.  Mr. Blamoh extended his deepest gratitude to ECOWAS for its unwavering support, which enables the Red Cross to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by these disasters. “Together, we are promoting recovery and building resilience and hope for a better tomorrow,” Mr. Blamoh said.

Beneficiaries are receiving their mobile money messages with great excitement and are appreciating the ECOWAS, Red Cross, and NDMA for the direct cash assistance which some have described as ‘a lifeline’ for them, helping them to rebuild and recover after the devastating floods.

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