The Chronicle Gambia

Couple Whose Child Died in Basse Windstorm Lost 4 Kids in the Past

In Bajonkoto village in Upper River Region’s Wuli District, Binta Camara and her husband Bafaa Samura are dealing with a familiar tragedy: the loss of a child.

On Tuesday 18th June, a destructive windstorm battered many parts of URR, killing three people, wounding several others and displacing more than a thousand people. The couple’s five-year-old son was sleeping on a mat in the courtyard of the family’s compound when the sky started changing its colour for what promised to be the first rainfall of the year. Binta carried him to the bedroom and went outside to enjoy the breeze. A few minutes later, she felt that the wind was getting too forceful and hostile for her liking.

The bedroom where Binta and Bafaa’s son was sleeping she he was struck by a concrete block

“When the windstorm was getting more powerful, I rushed inside the house,” she says. “In the process, a heavy concrete pillar fell on my back and got me wounded. But I still had to struggle to get to the room to get my child because the storm was already taking some parts of the roof away.”

When Binta got to the room, she found him in a pool of blood. He was struck by a concrete block which fell from a collapsing wall of the room. “When I saw his neck bleeding, I screamed for help. I was just there screaming ‘my child is dead’. I didn’t know what to do.”

Bafaa was outside at the time when he heard his wife crying for help.

“I heard her screaming ‘my child is dead, my child is dead.’ I rushed in and found the child lying under the cement block. I took him off the ground and we rushed him to health center and he died,” he says.

According to Bafaa, the wind swept away the corrugated roofing, and parts of the building collapsed while his son was sleeping, resulting to his death.

The couple had lost four kids in the past. They lost their twins in May.

The roof swept away by wind

“I accept everything as God’s will. I have to face it. He was such a good boy. After losing four kids, he came into this world giving me a lot of inspiration and hope. Now he’s gone,” Binta laments, with tears dropping from her eyes.

While the couple mourns the death of their son, they are also struggling to put food on the table, coupled with the nightmare of how to rebuild their home.

Meanwhile, in Nyakoi Taibatou, another URR village affected by the windstorm, Kaw Kanteh is grieving the loss of his aged mother. “She died from shock when some parts of our building fell on children, causing them injuries. We took her to the hospital and she died few hours later.”

He recalled that when the storm started, the corrugated roof was blown away.

“When this happened, our mother then came out crying. We have seven bedrooms and all the five have their roofs blown away. So my mother collapsed.”

Kanteh is now appealing for assistance.

Kaw Kanteh stands helplessly in his mother’s bedroom affected by windstorm

The government sent several delegations, led by the Vice President Isatou Touray and special presidential adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty to the disaster-hit areas. However, many victims have complained that the delegation brought nothing but statements from the government.

“We’ve received several people from the government since the incident happened but we have not received anything from them yet,” Kanteh told The Chronicle.

He however acknowledged the efforts of The Gambia Red Cross Society for its interventions.

Lamin Barry, found at the Basse river crossing, described the visits of the Vice President and Mr. Fatty as a waste of national resources. “They came here empty-handed. These are victims who expected something urgently especially from senior government officials like the VP and Mai Fatty. They came here as different delegation without given anything to the victims.”

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has donated food items to the disaster victims, Basse Area Council gave out D100,000.00

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