NGC Media Team: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 December 2019:
Last Friday, 13th December 2019, Dr Kandeh Yumkella raised concerns in Parliament about the devasting impact of on-going timber logging and deforestation in the Districts of Kailahun, Kono, Koinadugu, Falaba, and Karene.
Yumkella raised the alarm after his recent visit to some of these vulnerable locations in the past three months, and his visit last week to Kamakwie, Fintonia, Samaya, Kuru, Tanenneh, and Sanya, in the Karene District.
Speaking in Parliament last Friday, Dr. Yumkella pleaded with the Bio government to take urgent action to mitigate the deforestation of the country’s forest reserves. He recalled the video he did a year ago at Hastings, showing logs waiting to be exported.
He also recalled the Speaker of Parliament invited environmental groups to the House of Parliament to explain the extent of deforestation on the nation. It seems their efforts are landing on deaf ears.
Yumkella called upon the government to take proactive steps to plant trees so as to replace those which have been cut down in forest areas in Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Kambia and Karene districts to sustain viable timber industry in those districts.
He demanded that Parliament should call for a briefing about how the new reforestation fund is being used. MPs from Falaba and Koinadugu also echoed the same demand.
Dr Yumkella expressed his dismay and devastation about what he discovered, as he drove to Kamakwie, especially the bridges along the roads in Karene and throughout Falaba and Koinadugu.
This situation is causing serious problems for the movement of agricultural produce, general trade and other economic activities in the communities, many of whom are completely cut-off from markets during the rainy season.
According to Global Security, Sierra Leone has been ranked as the third most vulnerable nation after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau to adverse effects of climate change.
Vulnerable populations have low capacity to adapt to climate change; and the rural populations will be the most affected because of their high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.
This risk is only likely to worsen, if the Bio-led government fails to take steps to control timber logging and deforestation.
Yeliboa in Dr Yumkella’s own constituency 062 Samu Chiefdom, is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is gradually being submerged under water.