Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 September 2015
With seven people dead, hundreds injured and thousands left homeless in Sierra Leone, caused by heavy downpour in less than twenty-four hours, criticisms are beginning to emerge of the government’s incompetence and poor handling of the flood crisis.
As it was with the Ebola crisis that has now taken the lives of almost 4,000 people and $14 million stolen from the Ebola funds, the Koroma government is now faced with fresh allegations of poor disaster management planning and unpreparedness.
Thousands of people across Sierra Leone are tonight uncertain about their future, as they spend a second night in damp and cold conditions, shirking up at the national stadium and other civic buildings, with very little food, beddings and clothing.
Hundreds of homes were destroyed by the heavy rains. Bridges, roads and several public infrastructures have also been destroyed.
It is now estimated that Sierra Leone would need more than $20 million to repair and rehabilitate some of the roads and buildings destroyed by the heavy rains, which are predicted to continue for another five days at least.
Sierra Leone’s main opposition party – the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is accusing the government of having “foreknowledge of the impending disaster, but as usual, did nothing to prepare the nation for the disaster in order to save lives and property”.
“The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is deeply saddened by the devastation the torrential downpour has visited on communities across the country, especially in Bo District and Freetown.
“We join other Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad to convey our heartfelt condolences and regret to families who have lost loved ones and property in the event.
“While we acknowledge that the heavy rains are as a result of changing weather patterns around the world, the SLPP is appalled by the lack of leadership of the government in handling the situation.
“The public would recall that in December, 2013, the government appropriated Le 600,000,000 (six hundred million Leones), in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community, to the setting up of the Disaster Management Department (DMD) in the Office of National Security (ONS).
“Events of the last several days have clearly shown that contrary to pronouncements by the government, this nation is far from prepared to handle even the slightest incidents of flooding in the capital, let alone the nation.
“By its own admission, this government has had information in its possession indicating that: “Sierra Leone has been identified as one of the countries in West Africa that will experience heavy monsoon rains for the next six days with all its attendant damaging consequences”.
“In spite of this foreknowledge of the impending disaster, this government as usual, did nothing to prepare the nation for the disaster in order to save lives and property.
“Had the government shared this very vital information with the public or even deployed the agencies that are purportedly involved with the so-called Disaster Management Department, chances are that all those lives and properties would have been saved.
“We believe that the failure of government to share this information with the public and their inability or unwillingness to deploy resources to save lives and property is further indication not only of the ineptitude of the administration but also of the callousness of the leadership to the plight of the citizens of this nation.
“We therefore call on government to institute a full-scale, independent and transparent investigation into why the appropriate authorities failed to share the life-saving information with the public, the full extent of the damage and loss of life, and how resources that have been allocated to the much trumpeted disaster preparedness effort has been spent.
“We also implore government to employ full measures to aid the victims and to ensure that the clogged up waterways are cleared in order to save further loss of life and property. “
Signed: Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie – National Secretary General, SLPP
End of Statement.
It is now obviously clear that, after eight long years in power, the Koroma government has lost all inclination, will and appetite to govern the country, other than constantly looking out for opportunities – mostly foreign aid, that will ensure the continuing personal enrichment of those at the top of the food chain.
Is this flood crisis going to be another gravy train for ministers in the Koroma government, whose mouths are now wide open – waiting for the much needed foreign aid to arrive?
This incompetent and corrupt Koroma government, can no longer be trusted to protect the lives of its people, let alone guarantee their prosperity.
The government has failed the people of Sierra Leone woefully.