The Turkish Government through the Red Crescent of Turkey yesterday donated a huge consignment of relief items to persons affected by the landslide and flood disaster that occurred in the communities of Regent, Sugar Loaf, Matormeh and other parts of Freetown on Monday 14th August, 2017.
Receiving the items at the Lungi International Airport on behalf of the Sierra Leone Government, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma expressed profound gratitude and appreciation for the humanitarian gesture.
The Minister also extended gratitude to the Flight Captain of the Turkish Airline for his courage to fly a plane directly from Turkey to Sierra Leone for the first time in the history of aviation.
He informed pressmen at the Lungi International Airport that the same flight that brought the relief items into the country would air lift intending pilgrims from Sierra Leone to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.
He said an agreement has been finalized between the Government of Sierra Leone and Turkey and that come December 15th, 2017 Turkish Airline will start operations in Sierra Leone.
Speaking on behalf of the Turkish Consulate in Sierra Leone, the Secretary/Administrative Officer who deputized the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Turkey in the Republic of Sierra Leone (Hisham Mackie), Madam Messie Taylor said she deeply appreciated what the Turkish Government has done and continues to do for Sierra Leone, noting that this was not the first time Turkey had come to the aid of the country at a difficult moment.
Madam Taylor cited the Ebola scourge as an example of Turkish intervention, when the Turkish government sent a large consignment of drugs and medical equipment to Sierra Leone to help fight the killer disease.
She assured all and sundry that the items would be delivered to the government and hope that the items would be judiciously distributed to the beneficiaries.
Madam Taylor encouraged Turkey to continue rendering help to Sierra Leone but prayed for it to happen in a different capacity.
Head of the Turkish delegation, Omer Nimetoglu, Advisor of the Turkish Red Crescent President made an additional cash donation of fifteen thousand United States dollars to the survivors through the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society.
He said they were in Sierra Leone to support the government and people of in their most difficult and sad moment.
Receiving the cash donation on behalf of the survivors at the Red Cross Society head office on Liverpool Street in Freetown, the Secretary General, Constance Kargbo informed that on Monday 14th August, 2017, his organization received a phone call informing them of a landslide incident in the West end of Freetown.
He said they responded and worked side by side with the Ministry of Health and the Office of National Security (ONS) and other partners rescuing and at the same time conveying corpses to the Connaught Hospital Mortuary.
He said they are also working in partnership with the Military and that they are in partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in distributing relief items to the survivors.
On behalf of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, Mr. Kargbo expressed appreciation for the assistance rendered by Turkish Government to the needy and all other speakers including the National President of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, Edward Gandi expressed thanks and appreciation to the Turkish Government and the Turkish Red Crescent.