News Release

Church of Jesus Christ Donates Medical Supplies and Food to Victims of Tanker Explosion in Liberia

89 killed and nearly 100 seriously wounded in Totota disaster

On 5 January 2024, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a large shipment of medical supplies and food to the community of Totota, Liberia. Totota was the scene of a devastating tanker truck explosion that killed 89 people and seriously burned nearly 100 more, who are recovering. 

Late on Tuesday, 26 December 2023, a fuel truck crashed in the small city in Lower Bong County, about 130 km from the capital, Monrovia. After the crash, the tanker exploded, killing and injuring many who had flocked to the scene. 

The Church of Jesus Christ has two congregations in the area. The Totota 1st and 2nd branches are part of the Monrovia Liberia Mission. Although no members of the Church were killed in the explosion, one member subsequently died from injuries and two other members are recovering from their injuries. 

Shortly after the explosion, President Jeffrey K. Thomas, mission leader of the Monrovia Liberia Mission, met with members of the two branches, most of whom had suffered loss from the explosion.

“Virtually everyone in the town is affected by this tragedy. Nearly all community members had a family member burned or killed,” said President Thomas. 

The explosion site was only 300 yards from the local Church building and 150 yards from the missionary’s apartment.

Within the first few days, four smaller targeted donations of food and medical supplies were made by the Church prior to the large shipment. This enabled Church leaders to meet the time-critical needs of Totota victims and their families, as well as to provide critical medical supplies to the local hospitals and victims in Totota unable to receive hospital care. 

When the large shipment arrived on 5 January, the Church held a donation ceremony at the Liberia Ministry of Health in Monrovia to present the ministry leaders with much needed medical supplies for the Totota victims.  Accepting on behalf of the ministry was the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah.

“We are so grateful to your church for this timely donation, that it has come so quickly after the devastation in Totota is a great blessing for the community,” said Dr. Jallah. 

She added that, “We hope that others will follow your example and help relieve the suffering of these people.”

Representing the Church was President Prince Sonpon Nyanforth of the Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island Stake. President Nyanforth reminded the gathered members of the ministry that the donations come from the generous donations of members of the Church.

“The best way to show your thanks is to ensure that these donations are used for the purpose they were intended, and that they may ease the suffering of those wounded,” said President Nyanforth.

Later in the evening on 5 January 2024, trucks arrived in the city of Totota with the Church’s donation of food for the explosion victims and their families. Grateful community members gathered to help unload the truck.  On 6 January, additional medical supplies will be delivered to the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia, Catholic Charities, and ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) Hospital.

The Church of Jesus Christ gained a formal presence in Liberia in 1987. The first stake of the Church was established in Monrovia in June 2000. Currently there are six stakes, 72 congregations, and over 21,000 members of the Church in Liberia.

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