The Liberian Community in Australia Identifies With Bushfire Victims

The Liberian Community in Australia Identifies With Bushfire Victims

25 February 2009

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Australia — As national and international sympathy continues to pour in for victims of the recent Australian bushfires, the Liberian community of South Australia (LICOSA) has joined other communities in Australia to identify with victims of the deadly inferno.

As part of its planned efforts to contribute to the plight of victims, the community initiated a fun raising event on Saturday 21 February 2009 at the Enfield Community centre.

According to the Public Relation officer of LICOSA, Honourable Ibrahim Jabateh, “our contribution is a way of identifying with the people of our adopted country, who opened their friendly arms for us during our time of grief and distress”.

Mr Jabateh added that ‘no donation or contribution is too little in the eyes of the Red Cross as long as it is of good faith’.

The state of Victoria in Australia was recently hit with bush fires during a record-breaking heat wave – temperature that was above 40°C. The fires have proved to be the deadliest in Australian’s history, with at least 208 deaths reported so far.

The fires appeared to have been started by lightning, and authorities warned that the death toll could likely rise.

Some of the fires have, however, been linked to arson, and are under investigation. Some towns around the disaster zone have already been declared “crime scenes”.

A 39-year-old man named ‘Brendan Sokaluk, who joined the Churchill brigade of the Country Fire Authority in the late 1980s, is accused of the horrible crime, The Liberian Journal has learned.

He has been charged with arson–which led to the destruction of some lives and properties. If found guilty, Brendan Sokaluk could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years imprisonment.

The Australian Prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was quoted on national television as saying “anyone found guilty of lighting the’ Black Saturday bush fires’ had committed what he called mass murder”.

Speaking at the fundraising event, the chairperson of LICOSA, Mr Bledee, thanked members of the Liberian community for their selfless contributions. “Your donations will be sent to the Red Cross 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal fund” he said.

The event, which attracted a large number of Liberians, was climaxed by a series of cultural activities, including Liberian cultural arts, dances and pictorial display of some past activities of the community.

Among the many participants was Mr Thomas Gaye, former chairperson of the LICOSA, who expressed satisfaction and happiness over the whole fundraising idea. Mr Gaye also lauded the current chairperson for such a brilliant initiative.

Meanwhile, LICOSA and BADENYA officials are on the guest list of honourable Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia.

According to information confirmed by The Liberian Journal, the Premier will on Saturday 28 February host a reception to celebrate the contributions of members of communities–from countries within Africa to the State of South Australia–at the Adelaide Convention Centre North Terrace, Adelaide.

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