The human suffering and grief following the gas tanker explosion on December 14th, 2021, is hard to put into words. Daily, our partners have been receiving victims, prioritizing needs, offering what comfort and assistance they can.

At the same time, stories of incredible courage and strength emerge. Filane risked her life to pull her neighbour’s children from the fire.

Filane Cabret is a single mom of two children ages 4 and 9. She’s well-respected in the market, where she is a regular vendor, and in her neighbourhood that lies along the road where the explosion took place.

On Dec 14 around 11:30 pm, Filane and her kids were in bed. She was very tired from a long day in the market, and normally would have been long asleep by that time. But that evening Filane was restless, and stayed awake, checking on her kids with a candle stick burning in her small one room house without electricity.  Around midnight she heard that an accident had taken place on the road outside. Filane was just about to drift into sleep when suddenly she heard an explosion that shook the ground and the very walls of her home. Immediately, she knew that this was no simple tire blowout. Filane heard a lot of noise outside as people started to shout“get out, fire!”  Filane ran quickly to wake her children, and grabbed a few important items on her way to the door. She says the door was very hot and she could feel the heat making its way into her home as smoke filled the alleyway. She could not see where to go. Finally she made it out to the other side of the street and placed her kids in a safe area and together they watched their neighborhood go up in flames.

As Filane stood and watched, she realized that her neighbor had not come out of her home next door. 

Filane left someone to watch her kids and ran back into the flames. Pushing as hard as she could she finally burst the door open, grabbed her neighbour’s two children and folded them under her arms as she ran as fast as possible  for the exit. When she made it out, Filane passed out and was rushed to the hospital with the two children who were also suffering from smoke inhalation.

Filane suffered multiple burns in her legs and arms while saving her neighbour’s children. Many said that she should not have taken the risk, but she felt it was necessary. Fortunately, Filane, the two kids and their mother are alive today because of her heroism. Unfortunately, the father of the neighbour’s children died in the fire.

There is no doubt that Filane is a hero.

Staff at the C-NEW-C have been incredible, receiving a constant influx of families in need of emergency assistance, and treating each one with compassion and respect. 

The needs are many. But with generous support from Canada, we are standing with our partners at the C-NEW-C, as they prioritize the needs and provide as much help as possible. So far, emergency assistance is supporting:

– Purchasing clothing and food for families who have lost their possessions

– Assisting with finding safe homes for families who lost their homes in the fire

– Medications, medical supplies for the wounded

– Assistance with funeral expenses for those that have lost loved ones

– Trauma & grief counselling for victims and C-NEW-C staff