President Koroma: Tragedy challenges Sierra Leoneans to come together, help each other
President Ernest Koroma addressed his crisis-stricken nation on Monday in a moving speech acknowledging the devastation but urging calm after a day of flooding and landslides in Sierra Leone's capital. Here's a transcript of what he said followed by a raw video after the jump.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, our nation has once again been gripped by grief. Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more have been gravely injured and billions of Leones worth of property destroyed in the flooding and landslides that swept across some parts of our city.
I am very disturbed by this national tragedy and with a heavy heart, let me extend profound condolences to the bereaved families. This is not a tragedy for you alone; it is a tragedy for every Sierra Leonean because the people who have perished in this disaster are our compatriots. Every single family, every single ethnic group, every single region is either directly or indirectly affected by this disaster.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, this tragedy of great magnitude has once again challenged us to come together, to stand by each other and to help one another.
We therefore salute the bravery of our police, the Army, our National Fire Services, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Office of National Security who are in the front line of the rescue efforts.
We also applaud the enduring support of the Red Cross, civil society, the media and the selflessness of our youths for the great compassion and patriotism you have all demonstrated during this very trying time.
Let me assure you that my Government is fully engaged on this situation and, in collaboration with our development partners, we have already established an Emergency Response Center at Regent to coordinate our response and to provide relief to the survivors.
We have also established Registration Centers in various locations across the capital where our affected compatriots will be registered.
In the meantime, let me urge everyone to remain calm and to avoid disaster - prone areas while we continue to address this grave emergency. I thank you for your attention. God bless Sierra Leone