Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 August 2017
President Koroma today, Monday 21st of August, visited the East-end of Freetown to take stock of flood-hit areas. Meeting flood affected persons from Mountain Cut, Culvert and Wellington communities who are now seeking shelter at Brima Attouga mini-stadium, President Koroma told residents that government would do everything possible to help them rebuild their lives.
He thanked the community authorities for their role in identifying Attouga mini-stadium as a temporary shelter for the flood victims, saying that government is equally affected, and working on modalities to address the situation in the best way possible.
Government, he noted, would engage the community to agree on the use of temporary location for schooling, for affected children as schools are about to re-open in September.
President Koroma also visited the Bomeh Dumping Site. He toured the community and visited the blocked culvert which triggered excessive flooding of the area. Earlier, the president visited the victims holding centre at Regent to witness the temporary living conditions.
According to report from State House, three private local companies have agreed to construct 52 houses for flood victims.
But much more needs to be done. Over 60% of the population in Freetown are living in tin structures unfit for human habitation.
The three indigenous road construction companies – Pavi Fort, Gento Group and Secon Sierra Leone Limited have today, Monday 21 August 2017, presented a proposal to President Koroma at State House, outlining their plan to build the 52 self-contained houses, each with two bedrooms. The cost of construction will be fully met by the companies themselves.
Chief Executive Officer of Secon Sierra Leone Limited – Parpah Chendeka, said that the entire construction work will take forty-five (45) days.
The plan also includes an orphanage, a clinic and a community centre. The consortium is also planning to build a Mosque, Church, community school and recreational centre as part of the second phase of the project. The government will make available a 200 acres site located at Mile 6 for the project.
But as Sierra Leoneans try to come to terms with the extent of the disaster and the lasting impact it will have on communities, questions are being asked about why after ten years in power and several promises, the Koroma government has not been able to deliver on those promises, especially in terms of local cost housing, environmental management, and land policy.
Critics are today reminding the president of a speech he made on the 14th of December 2012, at the state opening of parliament. This is what he told parliament:
“Mr. Speaker, we will develop a comprehensive national land use planning and mapping system based on agro-ecological and economic potentials and social requirements. We will also build capacity for land use and country planning for sustainable development in both urban and rural areas and discourage land grabbing and hoarding.
“We will set aside land for allocation to the development of social services especially in urban areas and especially for youth development and empowerment. We will also identify and map areas which are prone to natural calamities like floods, landslides and drought for national preparedness.
“We will ensure the sustainability of land for agricultural development programmes to contribute to national revenue and employment creation and develop specific agricultural land use plans for every district. We will work towards ensuring a more equitable, non-discriminatory and fairer land tenure system in the country.
Sustainable Environmental Management
“My Government will continue with serious efforts to promote the realization of the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. We will work with all the municipalities to divide cities into several zones and quadrants and institute effective waste management systems.
“Our administration will use Garbage Disposals as a Revenue Source by encouraging the use of landfill sites to extract methane gas which will be used as another source of energy. This particular intervention will provide employment opportunities for the youth.
“We will provide necessary support to our forest rangers to actively patrol and protect our forests. We will collaborate with civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, local television, local radio and print media to promote awareness raising programmes on the environment.
“We will enforce all statutes contained in the laws of Sierra Leone designed to protect the environment. We will also enhance early warning and response systems for disaster management.”
But five years on, president Koroma and his ruling APC are yet to deliver on those promises.
Elections in Sierra Leone will take place in March 2018, and the people of Sierra Leone will judge the performance of the ruling APC by the promises they have not kept, which many say are the root causes of the flooding disaster that has taken the lives of over 450 people – with hundreds more unaccounted for.
kindly donate to our Freetown Flood Disaster Emergency Appeal. We’re raising £50000 to Help victims of the massive flooding in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which has taken the lives of hundreds of people, with thousands now homeless.
Please go to our JustGiving Crowdfunding Page and help make it happen:
The occurrence of this mudslide in Sierra Leone has already been in the making for a very long time and the disaster has been waiting to strike.
Whether anybody likes it or not, it must be realised that the habitation of people in that mountain top has not been in the interest of the country.
When did the Sierra Leone civil war came to an end? Has anybody forgotten about the “Truth and Reconciliation” that Tejan Kabbah set up in order to reunite those who committed crimes during the war, especially in their localities and against their neighbours? Why was this arrangement not followed to the end after President Tejan Kabbah?
The houses that these companies are pledging to construct for flood victims will only be meaningful if they are built in those villages that were left not-rehabilitated up till now so that the displaced Sierra Leoneans will move back to cohabit in their localities under the state amnesty that was launched by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
Due to political party differences, this was not followed after Tejan Kabbah and everyone was left to do what they wanted to do and that was why that settlement was established around Freetown.
Ernest Koroma’s APC term of office is coming to an end in 2018, this must serve as a pre information for the forthcoming government to be considered as a priority of the state.
Mohamed Sannoh, Kenema
The current government of Sierra Leone contributed to this month’s flood disaster by not addressing the problems caused by continuing rampant DEFORESTATION about which it had several warnings going back several years!
It is not that Sierra Leone Government does not have solutions about threats of flooding, etc., it is that it lacks commensurate value judgements with senses of prioritising about addressing them to prevent recurrences.
Now is the time to start implementing strategies, policies, and practices to ensure non-recurrences – about which I have both knowledge and experiences here in Enfield, London as a former Enfield Councillor.