Storm Destroys 47 Homes, Leaves 85 People Homeless in Nimba

BEATUO, Nimba—Heavy rainstorms have caused significant damage to several houses in Beatuo, Nimba, destroying at least 47 homes and displacing 85 people.

The storm deroofed homes and public buildings in the town and left the leg of an elderly woman broken. Her disabled adult son was also bruised.

Annie Quiyea said she had been indoors with her son when the storm caused the house to break down. Her son, Harris Quiyea, said community members who came to their rescue initially thought they were dead, as the walls of the house had fallen on them. Both mother and son are receiving treatment at the Beatuo Clinic.

The community health assistant assigned at the Beatuo Clinic, Moses N. Meayen, said 280 children, 207 women, and 247 men were now homeless because of the disaster. Many are currently staying with friends and relatives, he said.

The storm also affected the Beatuo Public School, which has an enrollment of 410 students.

The school’s vice principal for instruction, Porkarmon Quiahpoe, said classes had been suspended because no alternative structure could accommodate the students.

The damaged portion of the Beatuo Public School. Photo courtesy of Jacob Bantu/Voice of Tappita

Quiahpoe is appealing for an intervention to build a temporary structure to host the school for the remaining school year while it is being renovated. He appealed for roofing sheets, planks, and nails.

“I am grateful this incident did not happen during school hours; it would have been bad for the students,” he said.

“The heavy storm damaged our school buildings, the offices, and our warehouse. We are distressed by this incident. And so, we are calling on the government and NGOs to come to our aid because we are about to take our sixth-period exams, and there is nowhere to host the 410 students.”

A prominent native of Beatuo residing in Monrovia, David Wounuah, also called on the government and humanitarian organizations to provide emergency assistance to people whose homes were destroyed by the storm.

The office of the former county inspector, who was head of the disaster committee, shows that more than 46 disaster cases were reported in Nimba over the last five years. More than 70 percent of the cases were attributed to storms.

According to the report, the county and national leadership responded to fewer than six by providing supplies such as mattresses and building materials. The rest were left unattended, and the victims had to source their own help to rebuild their homes.

In 2020, the National Disaster Management Agency disclosed that it was decentralizing its activities in Nimba to respond to disaster victims in the county promptly.

As part of its decentralization plan, the agency promised to set up an office in Nimba, establish standard operating procedures, and pre-position humanitarian supplies for prompt response.

But since then, the agency has yet to make good on its promise, and disaster victims in the county are left to settle themselves.

Featured photo by Jacob Bantu/Voice of Tappita. Jacob Bantu contributed to this story.

Jerry Myers

Jerry T. Myers, Jr. is a student of the Nimba County Community College, studying Natural Resource Management. Since 2008, Jerry has worked in the media sector, including at the Voice of Tappita community radio station, ELBC Radio, Radio Nimba, and New Public Trust Media Group. He is the current secretary-general of the Nimba Community Radio Association and a full member of the Press Union of Liberia.

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