Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 April 2022:
On Tuesday, President Bio thanked the government of China for donating 15 water bowers for the supply of water in the capital city and two fire engines for the Lungi International Airport, saying that his government has done more to expand the existing water supply infrastructure in the country and to make it more resilient.
“Both World Health Organisation and UNICEF have stated that my government has improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation over the last four years: 24% in the provinces; 6% in the Freetown area. They have also confirmed that my Government is making great progress on what they set out to do – increase access to potable water,” he said.
The President said that poor access to water affects children’s schooling and exposes them to social risks, adding that his government’s focus is on human capital development.
“To address this problem, my government has secured from the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, a total of 15 bowsers and 2 fire engines donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The water bowsers will be used to enhance water service delivery to low-income communities in the Western Area,” he said.
But critics of the government and opposition parties say that after 61 years as an independent nation, Sierra Leone – a country endowed with natural resources and more than average rainfall a year for the continent, the government should not be going cap in hand begging other countries for assistance to provide safe, clean water for its people.
Minister of Water Resources, Philip Karimu Lansana, thanked the President for his caring leadership and “for making sure that water distribution to every household is possible”. He also thanked the government of the People’s Republic of China for their continued support to Sierra Leone.
Lansana also said that the water bowsers will help improve access to reliable water supply. The exponential increase in the population and rapid growth of Freetown he said, has challenged the provision of adequate water supply to all households in the city.
“These bowsers will add to the existing ones that will ameliorate the water situation in areas where there is inadequate or no network in Freetown. We are, therefore, very grateful to the government of the People’s Republic of China for this timely assistance,” he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang said the donation of the 15 water bowsers and two fire engines is meant to support and improve the water supply situation and to further enhance the safety of the Lungi International Airport.
“This donation is another vivid demonstration of the continued growth of China-Sierra Leone friendship and one of the concrete steps taken by China to support Sierra Leone’s development. They are gifts from the Chinese Government to the people of Sierra Leone for the Sixty-First Independence Anniversary Day,” he said.