Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 August 2019:
Many parts of Freetown – the capital of Sierra Leone, are today under several feet of water, following several hours of rainfall which according to our correspondent in the city, started in the early hours of this morning.
In the mountainous village of Regent, there are reports of huge cracks opening up on the hills, reminiscent of the causes of the 14 August 2017 mudslide, which took the lives of thousands of people living on the valley.
The country’s office of national security has been informed, and are believed to be taking precautionary measures to relocate residents from the areas at risk of another deadly mudslide.
This morning’s heavy downpour has left several people trapped in their vehicles as well as their homes, with little if any emergency assistance in sight, as could be seen in some of the pictures and videos below.
An SOS call for help was issued in the Blackhall area of Kissy in the far east of the city this morning, where several people are believed to be trapped under several feet of water.
Thousands of people living in the impoverished slum community of Kroo Bay, have been left homeless as their tin shacks are washed away. Two people are so far reported dead.
The perimeter wall of the country’s seaport – the Queen Elizabeth Water Quay in Cline Town, Freetown, has been breached by massive flow of water.
Several shipping containers have tipped over, and there are fears for the lives of many dock workers that are yet to be accounted for.
Although efforts are being made by the government and the Freetown City Council to ensure that the city’s drainage systems are cleared every Saturday, there are serious concerns that the rapid construction of roads and houses on the outskirts of the city, is now causing major environmental impact. Billions of Leones are spent every month by the government on national cleaning.
Heavy rainfall is dragging tons of soil removed from construction sites, and carried away as mud into the city’s drainage system, causing serious blockage, as well as deposited on roads and private properties.
Also, the inability of the capital’s residents to end their love affair with plastics, and the inability of the authorities to deal with the problem posed by the dumping of plastic waste into the drainage system, is now costing lives.
Four people have been reported dead in Bathurst, when a wall collapsed due to the heavy rain.
“Heavy rains in Freetown, flooding in most places. No early warning signs, no information on extreme weather events, no preparedness or adaptation measures. What is our environment sector doing in this country? Stakeholders need to be accountable. So much corruption and irresponsibility. No more time for lip service. We need answers,” says one angry resident of Freetown this afternoon.
Freetown City Council has issued this warning:
“Any disaster as a result of the heavy down pour of rain, kindly contact Freetown City Council Response Team on the following numbers: 031 016647; 076 933612; 079 173 474; 077 731 980; 076 780 287; 076 933 625; 076 232 608.