Thunder Bay Sends Aid to Burn Victims in Liberia

Thunder Bay Sends Aid to Burn Victims in Liberia

Liberia is a small country on the west coast of Africa. It was formed by freed American slaves after the Civil war in the 1800’s. On December 26, 2023 a tanker truck holding 9000 gallons of gasoline tipped over at the side of a road and began leaking its fuel load. Quickly, over 200 local residents (children and adults) with all kinds of containers began collecting the valuable gasoline. Suddenly the whole area exploded into a fireball. Twenty residents died at the scene, sixty victims died in the ensuing days and over 100 are still in hospitals being treated for severe burns.

I received this email a few days later from James Ngenda. 

“New Year greetings to you and Maureen! Kathleen and I are beginning preparations to return to Liberia on January 16th. There’s something though, I want to bring to your attention and find out if you (MEMO) could help. (Then a ghastly video of the tanker truck exploding and human torches running away.) We would like to help in a small way. We need cream, gels and anything that can be carried in a suitcase to help treat burn victims. Death toll is over 60. Our friend Dr. Ricks is the Chief Medical Officer at Phebe hospital where most of the patients are. 


James Ngenda “

James is a Liberian pastor married to Kathleen, a Canadian. Together in Liberia they run a ministry promoting community development based on Christian values. Over Christmas they were visiting Kathleen’s relatives in British Columbia. MEMO (Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity) is a ministry of Grace Evangelical Free Church of Thunder Bay which has sent over a 100 40’ ocean containers of medical aid to developing countries.

Our Thunder Bay MEMO volunteers immediately went to work in our little warehouse collecting specialized burn dressings. Some of these are redundant supplies from home care patients, local hospitals and clinics. Dawson Heights Pharmacy provided all the burn treatment gels they had in stock and a significant supply of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Burn victims often die of infection from having large areas with no skin to protect from infection. Antibiotics save burn victims lives. Soon two suitcases full of burn supplies were ready to be shipped to the Ngendas in B.C. to take to Liberia January 16th.

We took the bags to Purolator to be shipped by air to ensure they arrived before the Ngenda’s return flight to Liberia on January 16th. To our dismay the cost of shipping was going to be $3000! The Purolator agent, bless her heart, when she heard what it was for, reduced the fee to $300!

A few days ago, I received the following letter from Dr. Ricks of Phebe Hospital:

“February 22, 2024

Dr. Jerome Harvey


Dear Dr. Harvey

On behalf of Phebe Hospital administration, staff and the people of Bong County, I extend our deepest gratitude for your recent donation of two suitcases of assorted medical supplies received through Mr. and Mrs. James Ngenda following the tragic tanker explosion in Totota, Salala District, Bong County. Your generosity and compassion during this difficult time have touched our hearts profoundly.

The devastating incident resulted in the loss of lives and left many individuals critically injured. Your contribution empowered us to provide vital medical care social support to the victims.

Your exhibited remarkable generosity to the felt needs of the hospital.

Once again, we are profoundly grateful for your solidarity and generosity, and we look forward to working together to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

Thanks for helping the “Hands that Heal”.

Very truly,

Minnie Sankawulo Ricks BSc. MD, MWACP, MLCPS


Phebe Hospital & School of Nursing”

Thinking back on this amazing story I realize it is made of much heart-warming generosity by individuals and organizations in Thunder Bay; the people who donate medical supplies to MEMO, the MEMO volunteers, the local pharmacy owner, and last but not least the courier company’s tender-hearted agent. If you would like to be part of this life satisfying ongoing ministry to the needy you can do so by clicking on “Donate”.

God bless,

Jerome Harvey

Burn victims being treated at Phebe Hospital, Bong County Liberia.
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