“Yes, we were affected by the rain last Friday, water went into our houses and makeshift houses were swept away by the flood and we have other mudslides that affect the community,” they lamented.
ONS according to them has started the registration process but is yet to complete it, citing that they are ready to vacate the community if land is provided for them.
“As you can see the population we have here, we all know what happened here in 2017 and we are seriously panicky,” they complained, adding that the hills are cracking whenever there is rain and that they are only staying at the place because they have no other place to go.
According to them they are no longer staying in their shelters as a result of the splitting ground, “we are unable to stay in our houses, we have children, pregnant women, aged people, youth and lactating mothers here and some of us are sleeping in the open,” they cried.
Responding to their concerns Kasho Holland-Cole said they are partnering with the ONS to address the issues of the Mortomeh residents and flood communities in the area.
According to Mr. Holland-Cole the environment is no longer safe for the residents, citing his visit was to investigate the cause of flash floods and to proffer solutions to the government.
“Our immediate solution now is to register them; firstly we want to know the number of people that were affected and then move them into safer areas,” Mr. Holland-Cole told AYV.
In a related development, and in a bid to implement and enforce President Bio`s policy statement of putting a moratorium on construction work in the `red zone’ and the `yellow zone’ areas at the Mortomeh community in Freetown, the Minister of Lands, Housing and the Environment, Dr. Dennis Sandy together with his Deputy, Mr. Rex Bhonapha and team made a field visit to assess the current status of the Mortormeh community.
The Minister was accompanied by senior government officials from Tourism, Agriculture, Environment Protection Agency (EPA), National Protective Area Authority (NPAA) and a team of professionals on a fact finding mission in the community following the heavy rains in Freetown.
During the operation, an ongoing construction of a storey building at the yellow zone area of Mortemeh was indentified and marked (X) for demolition.
After the pronouncement of President Bio in respect of the landslide prone area in 2018, Minister Sandy said that series of on-the-spot monitoring visits have been made, and during those visits, a structure that has now been marked was not there.
Upon investigation, it was confirmed that the said newly constructed building is owned by Prince Allieu.
According to Dr. Sandy, after declaring that area as disaster prone, the government of Sierra Leone in 2018, paid a total of Thirteen Billion Leones to all affected victims of the August 14, 2017 landslide disaster of which, Mr. Prince Allieu, as one of the victims, was paid the highest amount of One Billion Five Hundred Million Leones (Le1.5Bn), an amount above Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars then.
After receiving the huge sum, Mr. Prince Allieu is said to have turned round and bought another piece of land at the yellow zone area where he is presently constructing a three storey building.
The move by Mr. Prince Allieu was described by Dr. Sandy as callous, arrogant and a challenge to President Bio’s policy statement which the Ministry will not take lightly as people must live by example in protecting life and property.
Because of the resistance and confrontation put up by Mortemeh community youths in an attempt to display (x) on Prince Allieu`s building, re-enforcement of Police officers from Mountain Division headed by Superintendent Ahmed Tejan Salif and Military officers from State Lodge stormed the area to disperse the violent youth.
The ongoing building construction has been stopped and several people arrested for misbehaving and taken to the Police Station for questioning.