The past few years has been extremely bad for the poor and most vulnerable, especially those living in the flood affected areas or disaster prone areas in Freetown.
Stakeholders at the Pentagon and Kamayama communities have embarked on massive registration of the flood victims in their communities. The registration process is a means of obtaining the appropriate number of casualty in the previous flood and landslide.
Kamayama and Pentagon are among the worst affected communities by the flooding. The Chairman-Jah Kingdom Development Association, Andrew Kainessie said they are trying to acquire the actual number of people that have been left homeless. He said if there was any possibility of relocation they want to ensure that those happened to be real victims acquire the forthcoming benefits.
“I have on the list sixty names that are homeless at the moment, and I am still searching for more to write their names. And I understand that many have gone to their relatives, that is for those who have elsewhere but most of the victims lost everything including their relatives.” Kainessie added.
Jah Kingdom Face1Chairman, Tamba Bonah stated that they are confronted with so many challenges at the moment, adding that their wells, which were the only sources of pure water in their community, have been destroyed. There is a major challenge to get a hold of food as all our monies have been washed away by the torrential rains, he lamented.
He mentioned that their current means of survival is terrible and challenging, as he confirmed that they are willing to relocate to a safer place as they have lost their families.
“Me, I lost my sister and her husband with seventeen other relatives, in that vein I am ready to relocate if the government presents that opportunity before me as this disaster is an evidence that these places are not good for residential purpose.” He emphasized.
Some of the victims present at the scene explained on how they were able to survive during the flooding, as most gave thanks and praises to the Almighty God for spearing their precious lives.
However, they established that their major concern at the moment has to do with shelter.
It is believed that over hundreds of houses were destroyed at the Kamayama and Pentagon communities during the catastrophic flooding, that has rendered many extended families homeless.
At the moment, over 1 million inhabitants are presently settled in overcrowded areas of the coastal city of Freetown. Loss of lives and economic devastation are a major development challenge for a country like Sierra Leone battling climate change, corruption and poverty.
One of the most harmful failures of the country’s response to sudden disasters is the delay in aid reaching those most affected (Regent Landslide- excavation still ongoing), every hour can mean death or great suffering, especially in poorly-resourced communities in the country.
The authorities in Freetown through the Ministry of Information called an emergency press conference to inform the media about their response to the crisis.
Sierra Leone has been beset by this problem of heavy rains in August and it is worrying that the authorities are again unprepared to deal with this disaster notwithstanding having been warned of such a disaster by the UN.
However, emergency workers and community volunteers say reaching survivors remains a major challenge. Entire communities remain marooned, living out in the open as their homes have been destroyed, with roads submerged under water or blocked by the mudslide.
Climate change, climate variability and weather events are a threat to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’ overall target of eliminating poverty and tackling other risk drivers such as unplanned urban development, environmental degradation and gaps in early warnings.
Such disastrous events require a system which ensures that people are risk informed and the strengthening of institutions which manage disaster risk.
Outbreaks of diseases such as dengue fever and cholera, and illnesses like diarrhea and dysentery, are often a threat in the aftermath of floods due to water-logging.
Owing to this, the Government of Sierra Leone needs to take the necessary steps to address the current tragedy faster and make adequate plans for future occurrences. There are and always will be disasters. The government of Sierra Leone should be prepared and able to act immediately if one occurs.
Bravo to the military personnel and all stakeholders that are currently championing the rescue team.
Our hearts go out to the people of Sierra Leone in their time of sorrow.