9 March 2017

Liberia: Rainstorm Destroys Radio Station, Other Facilities in Bong

A violent rainstorm in Bong County has destroyed the roof of Radio Gbarnga and damaged several of the station's broadcast equipment and documents.

The station's manager, William Quire, told the Liberia News Agency that the mixer board, seven computers (including desktops and laptops), as well as major documents, were damaged as a result of the heavy downpour. He said some station staffers were in the building preparing content for the Breakfast Show when the incident occurred.

Quire said one wing of the building was completely removed, while several steps leading to the building were completely washed away.

He put the total cost of equipment destroyed at around US$40,000.

"To renovate the building and replenish the damaged studio equipment will cost us such an amount. Now, the entire building is flooded with water from the rain, and we need serious work to be done on the structure," Quire added.

He is not certain when the station will return on the air, saying it all depends on how swiftly the renovation and procurement of replacement equipment can be carried out.

He appealed to NGOs, community members, and authorities of Bong County as well as national government to intervene so that the station can return to the airwaves.

Radio Gbarnga was established as a community radio station in 2004 by Mercy Corps and it has, among other awards, received the Press Union of Liberia Community Radio Station of the Year Award.

An audience map developed by Farm Radio International based in Canada revealed that the station broadcasts to over 600,000 listeners, mainly in rural and semi-urban communities in central and western Liberia.

At the same time, the rainstorm damaged several homes and institutions in Gbarnga.

The victims are appealing for assistance to rebuild their damaged structures.

Other institutions impacted by the storm include the Rural Empowerment Foundation and the William V. S. Tubman Gray High School.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, through its Disaster Management Committee, is the official arm of government responsible for responding to disasters across the county.

But neither the disaster committee nor humanitarian organizations have made any intervention up to press time. LINA PTS/TSS/PTK

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