The Chronicle Gambia

Shop Owners Cry Out As Fire Razes Basse Market

The fire outbreak that consumed everything in Basse market on Monday night has left shop and stall owners in a sorrowful state after losing all their goods and other valuable commodities to fire.

While the impact assessment was inconclusive, it’s estimated that millions of dalasis were lost both in cash and in kind.

“It costs me a lot. I have more than 40 bags of baobab and more than 50 bags of groundnut in my stall and nothing was saved. I am entrusted with people’s money, it’s all gone. I have my own money that I should repay the loans for my business, everything was burnt down. I cried until I was tired,” Satang Ceesay told The Chronicle on Tuesday.

Satang Ceesay

Her stall is situated near the Gamtel building.

Haruna Trawalley, a shop owner, also shared his unfortunate story. “I have a shop and all my goods were burnt to ashes. If I quantify the loss it can be valued up to D250,000 excluding physical cash.”

Next to Haruna’s shop is his friend’s who supplies smaller shops. According to Haruna, everything is lost in that shop which was heavily loaded. 

“This is a big disaster for us, but Allah knows best,” he said. 

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) is currently on the ground tallying an impact assessment on the situation. 

“We are doing a rapid assessment on all those people who have shops or stalls in the market. The team is compiling the cost of the damage. We will assess the number of stalls, the number of people affected and the money involved,” Dawda Sankareh, NDMA official told The Chronicle. 

The Basse Area Council was also present. The CEO of the Council, Ousman Touray, described the situation as ‘very sad and unfortunate’.

Haruna Trawalley

“If you want to estimate it will be millions of dalasis. Presently, NDMA is doing the impact assessment and we will not know exactly the extent of the damage, but one can estimate that it’s in millions of dalasis because both physical cash and goods were destroyed in the fire. Nothing was managed to be saved. The entire market was burned down,” he said. 

Basse is the country’s furthest regional capital from Banjul – 374km away. It’s a business hub for neighboring countries such Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.

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