Imagine that…

Help is on the way?

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In my previous sermon (hmm, I mean blog), I mentioned that I wished there had been other online Ebeye Fire coverage. The next day after the fire, YOKWE ONLINE broke the news with first-hand reporting and photos from readers’ on Ebeye. Since then, there has been no other online coverage — if the story was sent out to wire services from Majuro, no news agency carried it.

Imagine.. One of the most densely populated places in the world. Over 12,000 people on an islet 1 mile long and roughly 750 feet wide, of less than 80 acres. That’s one tenth of a square mile. Houses, wall to wall, many of just plywood construction. No fire truck. Rusted-out fire hydrants. Imagine what could have happened!

Finally today, Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat carried the audio report, “Houses burn for want of a hose,” — only 15 days after the event! Well, better late than never!

Pacific Beat interviewed Johnny Lemari, mayor of Ebeye. Although much of what was said is covered in our original report, there was some startling news. Lemari said there had been a meeting with the RMI Government’s First Secretary and Minister for Public Works.

“They understand the problem but we’ve been asking them to provide a fire truck for the island, because even though we seldom do have fire, when it’s struck it’s a big disaster, it’s a big problem,” he said. (Well, I guess so!)

“So they acknowledged that and in our meeting they say they’re going to bring in a fire truck as soon as possible and I expect it THIS WEEK and if not then NEXT WEEK. (I’ll believe that when I see it!)

My question is, if they can get it that quick, how come they couldn’t have had it before.” By the grace of God, that fire did not keep moving…right on down the line from Rock Town to Dump Town…and by the way…that’s the entire island.

Imagine that.

Written by Aenet Rowa

April 13th, 2005 at 3:54 am

Posted in General

One Response to 'Help is on the way?'

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  1. Having lived on Ebeye I am very familiar with the proximity of homes. If there was a steady gust of wind that day I bet the fire could have spread all the way to the dump. I still have many family and friends that live on Ebeye so it really hits close to home literally.

    Not having a fire truck or some means of putting out a fire is just inexcusable. As a child and juvenile living on Ebeye we use to burn Mosquito coils, kerosene lamps and burners routinely. Heck I remember taking powder from matches and a spark plug to make our own firecrackers not to mention the ones they sell in the stores.

    Like all things back home education can help stem problems like this. Explaining the dangers of poor electrical wiring, improper use, location and supervision of Kerosene products and cigarettes and the prohibition of fireworks sales might help prevent future problems. But despite the best education accidents can and will happen we need to be pro-active and preparfor it. A volunteer fire fighting brigade trained by the Kwajalein Firefighters and with some sort of fire extinguishing equipment is a must.

    This is just another example that our politicians are more worried about filling their own pockets and not taking care of their own.


    13 Apr 05 at 12:33 pm

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