Murray Sandy: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2019:
There is a saying or proverb in Sierra Leone, at least in Mende country that, “one river cannot always soak your pants every time you cross it. You have to find another crossing point.”
Here is Sierra Leone’s meteorological reference point: “The climate is tropical and humid all year round. Between November and April, it is very hot, humid and dry, although the coastal areas are cooled by the sea breeze. In December, and January, the dry, dusty harmattan wind blows from the Sahara in the north. Rainfall can be torrential during the raining season between May and November”.
It must be noted that there are no weather forecasters in Sierra Leone, even though Fourah Bay College has been offering geography, a prelude to meteorology, the study of weather among others for over 50 years.
The current and on-going floods affecting various countries around Africa, from North to South, East to West, and points in between, should give pause to the authorities in Freetown, particularly the government’s national security and environmental protection departments or agencies.
Of course, metaphorically speaking, the buck stops at Bio’s humongous government desk.
Most regions of the world have their own environmental issues they have to deal with. America, Canada and the Caribbean islands have tornadoes, hurricanes and high winds, in addition to snow.
South Eastern Asian countries experience monsoon rains, tropical storms or typhoons when they make landfall and consequently wreak havoc on regional countries.
Part of Sierra Leone’s NSC and environmental agencies’ mandate involves formulating a National Climate Change Policy and establishing a National Secretariat for Climate Change (NSCC), which became operational in 2012.
Sierra Leone has an executive type of government, which has the overall responsibility for whatever happens in the entire country or of national significance. This means president Bio, single-handedly supervises the whole country, of course, with the help of his hand-picked assistance in the form of Ministers and agency heads.
The constitutional framers wanted to give absolute power to the president. (Africans like power). And they did just that. The government can talk about devolution as much as it wants, but at the end of the day, and in the present, total responsibility resides with the executive branch, Bio.
The EPA is housed within the President’s Office and is the main government agency in charge of all issues concerning the environment and climate change. The EPA was established with the goal of creating and enforcing strict regulatory framework for environmental regulation in Sierra Leone.
Below are some of the current weather destruction taking place across Africa:
South Sudan – 200,000 hit by “unprecedented flooding” Says UN.
Cameroon – Villages Isolated after floods in far northern region.
DR Congo – Deadly floods hit Kinshasa.
Ethiopia – Over 20 killed in landslide in the South.
Tanzania – Floods cause fatalities in Morogoro and Tanga Regions.
Côte d’Ivoire – Deadly floods in Abidjan and Aboisso Departments.
Nigeria – Almost 20,000 displaced by Benue and Niger River floods.
Kenya – Over 1,000 displaced by floods in North.
Sudan – North Darfur Town devastated by rains, flash floods.
Senegal – Thousands displaced by floods in Dakar and Kaolack Regions.
Algeria – 2 dead as floods hit Algiers and Souk Ahras.
West Africa – Death toll rises in Niger, homes destroyed in Nigeria, hundreds displaced in Chad.
Mali – Floods destroy hundreds of homes.
Niger – Floods leave 42 dead and 5,000 homes destroyed.
Sierra Leone should be on the alert and be prepared to mitigate against any environmental, weather or rain related devastation, destruction or impact that may come its way, that may have the tendency to displace not just people, but also destroy property.
Sierra Leone must learn by experience and provide state or governmental assistance when critically needed. Siaka Stevens, the venerable former president of Sierra Leone once said, and I quote, “vigilance is the price we must pay for national survival.”