Congo Cross is one of the slum communities in Freetown and residents here live in great danger every day, especially during the rains. These residents live in makeshift structures and these structures can easily be swept away by heavy downpours or wind.
Research shows that residents under the high voltage power lines and other parts of the power transmission network increases the risk of cancer and other health problems.
Lack of housing facilities has reportedly forced these residents to live in dangerous locations like these; including steep areas and in other unimaginable places like under high voltage power lines and under bridges.
Even though Mayor of the Municipality is planning to construct 5,000 houses for slums dwellers, it seems as if there is mixed-feeling amongst them. Speaking to a land owner Fatmata Jalloh, she said she has been living in the community for more than 10 years and that she has not been affected by flooding. She added that it is true the government had asked them to relocate but only compensated tenants instead of the land owners.
“I have never heard nor have I seen the power lines affecting people because a lot of people are living under and around it,” she said.
Fatmata Jalloh and other residents also told AYV that they did not receive compensation but that if even that was the case, the government should first find an alternative place for them if they want to relocate them.
Joseph Aruna a tenant also speaking to AYV said he has been staying in the community for more than 15 years as a result of not having money to purchase land to build and relocate with his family.
“Life is very hard for us here in this slum community most especially during the rains. We scoop water entering our house because we have nothing else to do as a result of the government not considering constructing low cost houses for us to stay,” he said.
He went on to say that he is a tenant and has nothing to say about the compensation because government only engaged the land owners instead of the tenants. “I don’t know what they went through or their arrangement” he added.
Congo Cross community according to Mr. Aruna is a deprived community and armed robbers usually break into their houses and steal their properties. “Please, we are calling on the government for solar energy lights at the bridge and in our community to minimize the robberies,” he pleaded.