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 Gambians died in Bronx fire incident

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 10 Jan 2022 : 19:55:08
At least 19 people were killed, including nine children, after a fire broke out at an apartment building in the Bronx, New York City, officials say.

“This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed here in modern times in the city of New York,” the city’s mayor, Eric Adams, said at a press conference.
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toubab1020 Posted - 20 May 2022 : 18:02:55

May 20, 2022

Press release

Washington DC, 19 May, 2022: The Embassy of The Gambia to the United States of America and the Permanent Mission of The Gambia to the United Nations in New York inform the general public that it has distributed The Gambia Government allocated funds of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) amongst Gambians involved in the Bronx fire disaster that took place on 9 January, 2022. The fire claimed seventeen lives. Fifteen of the deceased were Gambians.

The Mission and the Embassy, in concert with the Gambian community leaders designed a distribution formula which allocated Two Thousand Dollars ($2000.00) to each deceased person. With this, altogether the representatives of the Fifteen (15) dead persons received Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00), whilst the remaining Seventy Thousand Dollars ($70,000.00) was shared amongst the rest of surviving victims through their family or household representatives. A total of 103 survivors received $679.61 each amounting to $70,000.00.

In his welcoming remarks, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the United Nations in New York, H.E. Lang Yabou, warmly welcomed victims’ families to the Mission and thanked them on behalf of H.E. the President for coming to receive what he described as a gesture of solidarity from the Government of The Gambia. He said the circumstance that led to the meeting is indeed an undesired one, noting that worldly ephemeral material cannot be equated to human life because it is sacrosanct. He used the opportunity to pray for Allah’s mercy on the departed souls.

Ambassador Yabou explained that previous meetings and consultations with families of victims were all geared towards ensuring that no member of victims’ families is left behind. He said accountability is an integral part of good governance thus the need to ensuring that every victim gets his or her fair share of the funds. He informed the gathering that as government representatives, accountability and transparency are key to their work.

Ambassador Yabou recognised great efforts made by the staff of the Permanent Mission as well as the collaboration and support given by The Gambia Embassy in Washington, D.C, the 2 Mosques, Gambia Youth Organisation and Elders in generating an all-inclusive data concerning the victims and families. He reiterated that the involvement and presence of the Embassy in Washington, D.C. is important as the welfare of every Gambian in the United States falls squarely under the Embassy.

The Ambassador used the opportunity to hail the unity and solidarity between members of the Gambian community, especially, when the unfortunate incident happened. He said the incident has further strengthened bonds of solidarity adding that each and every member of the community rendered support to victims in one way or the other. Ambassador Yabou returned gratitude to His Excellency, the President, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People of The Gambia for the support given as The Gambia is the only country that gave such a relief package to its citizens affected by the fire. He therefore urged families to remain strong adding that the tragedy was ordained by Allah (SWT).

Ambassador Yabou recalled the prompt engagement of the late Ambassador Dawda D. Fadera when the tragedy happened and how the team and the Foreign Minister, His Excellency Dr. Mamadou Tangara discussed the issue of the humanitarian gesture and came to a consensus that support should be given to the victims.

He called on the community to inculcate high sense of discipline in their children and send them to school. This, he added, would further increase the value and recognition of the community in the US. He also informed the gathering that The Gambia Government is appreciative of support given by Gambians in the United States as well as other nationals.

The Honorary Consul-Designate, Mr. Ebou Cham, commended the entire Gambian community for the cordial working relations he had with them since the incident broke out. He used the opportunity to pray for the victims by wishing them peace and unity as a community.

Mr. Sheikh Musa Drammeh, a community leader, who spoke on behalf of the community said it is not the amount given but it is the gesture that matters and that meant a lot to them. He thanked the staff of the Mission in New York and the Embassy in DC for the collaboration and support since the incident happened. The support, Mr. Drammeh said, was overwhelming and therefore expressed profound gratitude and assured that as a community they will continue to support and defend the Government and its officials. He observed that it is consoling to know that the Government is sensitive to their pain. He expressed the community’s displeasure over what he referred to as the lack of enough support and sensitivity from the US authorities. Mr. Drammeh concluded by calling for urgent steps to be taken by their community elected authorities to address the challenges facing them as a community.

A number of family representatives took the floor to commend and pray for the Mission and Embassy Staff as well as the Government and people of The Gambia while expressing their sincere appreciation for the donation. They asked the Ambassador to convey their sincere appreciation to His Excellency, the President and his Government.
toubab1020 Posted - 11 Feb 2022 : 17:25:10


Gambia News

Families sue building owners over NY fire that killed Gambians

February 9, 2022

Several families, mostly Gambians, whose loved ones died or were injured while trying to escape a smoked-filled New York apartment building sued the owners Tuesday, alleging safety violations that led to the wrongful deaths of 17 people, including eight children.

The five lawsuits were filed on behalf of the families by Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney based in Florida, and the New York law firm Weitz & Luxenberg.

“We have a lot of the families who paid such a tragic loss in the apartment fire,” Crump said during a news conference outside the building, saying violations of city safety rules “caused unspeakable loss of life and injury to these families, mostly from Africa.”

A malfunctioning electric space heater started the blaze the morning of Jan. 9, fire officials said.

While the fire damaged only a small part of the building, it produced caustic smoke that quickly engulfed the complex. The suffocating smoke rose through a stairwell of the 19-story building and killed people as they attempted to flee.

“These Black families who lost so much that seem to be marginalised not only before the tragic fire broke out, but even in the aftermath,” said Crump, who gained attention as spokesperson for the family of George Floyd.

The lawsuits do not specify monetary damages, nor do they mention specific safety violations.

A spokesperson for the building’s owners denied they were responsible.

Several relatives of the fire victims spoke at the news conference to express frustration over the uncertainties spawned by the fire as they look for new places to live. Some remain in hotel rooms.

“What happened on Jan. 9 was very devastating and tragic, and very unexpected, and could have been avoided. I lost my sister in the fire. She was trying to come down to save my family,” said Fatima Janneh, whose sister Sera, 27, was among those killed.

“We need justice for the families that lost people, as well as the other tenants in the building. We’re all victims to what happened here,” Janneh said.

The plaintiffs include the mother of a 2-year-old boy who died and parents who lost their 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. They also include a 20-year-old mother whose 3-month old son was hospitalised.

Many residents were immigrants from the Gambia. Their shared origins, with some of them hailing from the same village, fostered a close-knit community.
toubab1020 Posted - 21 Jan 2022 : 12:53:58


Mother, son of Bronx fire victims laid to rest in Soma

By Binta A Bah on January 21, 2022

Emotional cries filled home in Soma, the hometown of Fatoumata Tunkara, as she and her six-year-old son were laid to rest.

Fatoumatta Tunkura, 43, and her son Omar Jambang, 6, were among the 16 Gambians who died in a fire at a New York apartment on Sunday 8 January 2022.

The arrival of their bodies at the Banjul International Airport was greeted with emotional scenes as relatives and sympathizers restlessly waited to receive them for burial.

Family, friends, and loved ones gathered at her home in Soma to pay their respects.

Men shook their heads in agony and women carried their hands on their heads, sobbing and wailing as the two coffins were carried to the graveyard.

“Woi yo woi ah tata le,” the mourners wailed, meaning she is gone.

“She was a loving and caring wife,” her husband told hundreds of mourners.

Salleh Baldeh, who flew in with the bodies from the US, was tearful. “We lived together with Fatoumatta. She was a very strong woman because she worked hard just to support her family back home.”

Chaku, as she was fondly called, financially supported her family, according to her brother Muhammed Tunkara.

“She was not only helpful but was also a cheerful woman. She was always happy. The family will surely miss her.”

She is survived by four children.
toubab1020 Posted - 19 Jan 2022 : 19:02:05


January 19, 2022

As planes of African leaders land at the Banjul airport to attend President Adama Barrow’s inauguration, an SN Brussels flight will however bring remains of Gambians who died in the Bronx apartment fire.

On Sunday, 8th January 2022, fire broke out in a New York building after a space heater that had been left running continuously burst into flames.

At least 16 Gambians, including 6 children were confirmed dead.

The Gambia government, through the foreign ministry, had promised to process travel documents for those intending to attend burials here when the remains are repatriated.

The Standard has been reliably informed that some escorts have already arrived yesterday.

There was a mass funeral on Sunday which capped a week of prayers and mourning within a close-knit community in the Bronx, where 15 people were reportedly buried.

The repatriated bodies to The Gambia, numbering four, are expected to land at the airport this morning.

Senior government officials are expected at the sombre occasion.
Momodou Posted - 12 Jan 2022 : 13:42:42
Gambia mourns 11 deaths in New York fire
JANUARY 12, 2022

By BK Sillah

Gambians from all walks of life have been expressing shock and sorrow over the death of at least 11 compatriots in Sunday’s fire outbreak in a New York flat.

The Gambia Government led the condolences last night. In statement on the tragedy, Government expressed its heartfelt condolences over the tragic incident which killed at least 6 children.

“We are deeply saddened to inform the general public that eleven (11) Gambians, including six (6) children, have died in the fire that broke in Bronx, New York on Sunday 8, January 2022. Latest information from our Permanent Representative in New York, and Ambassador in Washington indicate that others are still missing but efforts are underway to locate them. Both the Permanent Mission and the Embassy in Washington are working with the authorities in the City of New York with a view to locating survivors and also assisting the injured. They have also been in touch with the families concerned. Some have already been found and reunited with their families. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Gambia Government, sends its heartfelt condolences to the grieving families for this tragic loss. The Ministry prays for God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness on the departed souls. The public will be regularly updated as we go through these trying times,” the statement said.

President Adama Barrow too has since sent his personal condolences to the family through his social media feeds.
“We are keenly following the developments through our Embassy in the United States. Meanwhile, I extend my condolences to the families of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” the president said.

In a statement shared with The Standard, the opposition UDP said: “The UDP is shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic fire accident which occurred in an apartment complex in the Bronx, New York, USA on January 9 causing fatalities and severe injuries to the residents.”
“On behalf of the National Executive Committee and on my own behalf I wish to express our deepest condolences for the great loss of lives.
The Gambian diaspora is an integral part of our close-knit community, and as such this is a shared loss for all Gambians. We pray that all those who mourn are comforted by Almighty Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Beneficent. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all the deceased and injured at this very difficult time for them,” the statement released by leader Ousainu Darboe stated.

The GMC leader, Mai Fatty wrote: “I am saddened to express condolence on the tragic death of a number of Gambians who perished in a Bronx inferno, in New York, USA. I commiserate with the families, relatives and friends of the victims and with the entire Gambian community. I pray fervently, that Allah, the Lord of the Universe, bestows His Mercy upon them all, admit them into Jannatul Firdaws, and console the families left behind.

“I want to commend the Gambian community in New York for their generous acts of prompt humanitarian intervention. This is a sad moment for our Nation, and for all of us to mourn this huge national loss, and to support the needy families in any way possible. The Gambian community in the USA are very resilient, and May Allah help see us through this great tragedy.”

Meanwhile, The Standard has received report of parents perishing, leaving their babies behind while others have their children perished in the fire.
toubab1020 Posted - 11 Jan 2022 : 15:10:21

CNN: 5:10 p.m. ET, January 10, 2022
The Bronx fire is second-most deadly US home fire in nearly 40 years, fire group says

The Bronx fire on Sunday that killed at least 17 people, including eight children, is the second-most deadly US home fire in nearly 40 years, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The fire came just days after another fire in Philadelphia killed 12 people. The death tolls from both fires places them in the top 10 residential fires since 1980, according to the association.

The National Fire Protection Association also reports that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of US home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths and injuries. A malfunctioning electric space heater in a bedroom was the source of the apartment building fire, New York Mayor Eric Adams said Monday......
toubab1020 Posted - 11 Jan 2022 : 15:03:23
My condolences to family and friends of those who died in this tragedy
Momodou Posted - 10 Jan 2022 : 21:07:26

NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - New York authorities said on Monday the city was investigating a possible "maintenance issue" with a door that failed to close when devastating fire erupted in a Bronx apartment building a day earlier, killing 17 people, including eight children.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, just over a week into the job, said at a briefing that the city's medical examiner determined the fire had claimed two fewer victims than the 19 announced on Sunday.

The blaze broke out on Sunday morning in the 19-floor Twin Parks North West building, which provided affordable housing units for low-income New Yorkers. Many of the residents were from the large Gambian community that lived in the neighborhood.
Momodou Posted - 10 Jan 2022 : 20:52:44


NEW YORK (AP) — Doctors raced Monday to save survivors of New York City’s deadliest fire in three decades as authorities began investigating how thick smoke could billow through a high-rise, trapping many families inside and killing 17 people, including eight children.

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