Abayomi Tejan: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 July 2021:
Flooding in Freetown is here to stay; like COVID-19, which assumed the name because the pandemic struck in 2019, so too, “Flash Flood 21” would best describe this year’s.
flooding as distinguished from last year’s and the August 14, 2017 ‘Horror at Mortemah’ landslide in Regent Village, and all other flood disasters since, that were triggered by torrential rains.
The underlying causes of flooding continue to grow by the day: erosion, poor solid waste and domestic waste management, indiscriminate housing construction, deforestation, inadequate drainage system, the complete absence of urban town planning, growing slum communities everywhere, and a population the majority of which comprise the less civil of society. It is they who are the operative causers of environmental blight. Prime among them are the ubiquitous street traders, followed by thieves, vagrants, beggars, the homeless literally living on, and off the streets of Freetown.
No matter the City Council of Freetown has been trying to rid the capital city of rubbish strewn on streets and gutters, it cannot still keep pace with the rate at which the population produce and dispose of household waste daily.
Each year comes with a new proposal from the Mayor of Freetown, Mrs. Yvonne Aki-Sawyer to deal with garbage. Each year, the problem assumes a new dimension that calls for a new approach. And so it goes on and on and on.
Until and unless the government completely depoliticize good order and discipline among the general citizenry and stop this invidious ‘Street Trading’ politics that fuels traders’ resistance to comply with Council’s regulations, clear SLRA’s Right of Way occupied by an unbroken chain of trading stalls from east to west; random street garages, Freetown would ever remain a fool’s Paradise for the naïve, narrow minded and unexposed.
The rains have started in earnest, and this is July. The yearly ritual of dealing with the aftermath of flash floods by ‘stakeholders’ has begun.
The same old political rhetoric admonishing citizens to comply with waste disposal regulations, the pretentious disaster relief donations to flood victims, the continued non enforcement of laws by Council and the police, would run its course all over again in vain. Come November with the dry season, it’s back to square one. Business as usual.
The Regent landslide in 2014 might be the most horrific yet in the history of disasters in Freetown, but if things continue as it is, then we are yet to see the worst.
News broke yesterday inn Freetown of a collapsing wall after heavy rains. Building permit and building regulations are non-existent, leading to environmental destruction and loss of lives and properties.
Destruction caused by heavy rains in Freetown
Recently the small town of Lytton in Canada, experienced one of the worst heatwaves , setting off bushfires and left a trail of destruction in its wake. . Overall the heat wave claimed the lives of more than seven hundred elderly people in both Canada, and some North American states. This flash flooding we are experiencing in Freetown, is now becoming more frequent, with deadly consequences.2017, 2019,2020,and 2021. The rate and frequency of this phenomenon will give anyone food for thought. Though, it is not scientifically proven that Climate change is responsible for this phenomenon, but we can’t rule it out. The Bio government is paying lip service in tackling the climate emergency that is upon us. Nevertheless, as Freetown residents are becoming more accustomed to, this sudden change of wheatear pattern migth tempt us to blame other factors. But you ever wondered why? The answer is hidden in plain sight. You just have to climb Mount Aureol or point 21 overlooking the new American embassy, and take a birds eye view of the city of Freetown, that is sandwiched between the Atlantic ocean and the Peninsula, and see how we have cut down all the trees that are supposed to act like a barrier to stop this sort of deadly freak weather visiting us.
The government needs to crack down on this unchecked falling of our trees that have been unscrupulously harvested and shipped to China. Why should the Chinese government introduce laws to protect their rainforest, and natural habitats, but happy to pay huge amount of money to timber traders in Sierra Leone that are causing so much misery for us ordinary joe average. Not long ago, Bio who is good at public relations exircise, was inviting the Media to watch him plant a tree. Whether he was doing it out of convictions, or just to please our international partners, like the Biden administration, no one can read much into it. If he is serious, his government needs to provide more funding for flood defences. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend nothing is happening.