By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Sierra Leone‘s President Julius Maada Bio has declared three days of national mourning across the West African nation starting today Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th November 2021 over one hundred Sierra Leoneans that were killed when a fuel tanker collided accident in Wellington, East of the capital, Freetown.
President Bio made these remarks last Sunday night in a state broadcast to the nation where he stated that as a result of the loss of so many compatriots in the accident, flags will fly at half-mast adding that prayers will also be held for the deceased and the injured throughout the country on Friday 12th November and Sunday 14th November respectively.
“In solemn tribute to the faithful departed, I now declare three days of national mourning commencing Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th November 2021 throughout the Republic of Sierra Leone. Flags shall be flown at half-mast,’’ Bio said.
Bio added that in moments as these bring us closer as a nation just as they have in the past saying ‘’we will endure, pull through and persist as a nation’’
President Bio said when he visited the different hospitals in the capital where victims were responding to treatments, he saw his fellow compatriots in extreme pain adding that they shared with him their anguish and as a president, he has reassured them of his Government’s commitment to continue supporting them during these difficult times.
“This national tragedy is heart-rending. I also thank foreign leaders and well-wishers who have condoled with us. Especially, I thank the World Health Organization that is airlifting 6.6 tonnes of emergency medical supplies as their initial response to the severe burn cases,’’ President Bio added.
Bio added that the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation will scale up responses and provide the best medical and psycho-social care for victims and their families.
“A group of foreign medical specialists will soon join our hardworking medical staff to intensify treatment for the injured,’’ The country received yesterday about 6.6 tonnes of medical supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) to help respond to the fuel tanker explosion in the country that has left more than one hundred with dozens currently admitted.
Meanwhile, the Western Area Regional Blood Transfusion Centre at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in a public notice appealed to the nation and urged citizens to donate blood ‘’ Save the victims of the Freetown explosion’’
‘’With over 100 burn victims from the fuel tanker accident, hospitals now have less than a 72 hour supply of blood and are quickly running out. There is an emergency blood drive taking place at PCMH hospital on Fourah Bay Road beginning at 8 am on Monday, November 8th and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,’’ the PCMH statement reads.
An interfaith service was held in Waterloo, outskirt the capital in Freetown attended by the President and other dignitaries in the country.