“We’ve identified disaster prone areas nationwide but most are found in the Western Area, where there are 30 disaster prone areas within the creeks, catchment and waterways,” reveals Office of National Security (ONS) Director, Planning and Inter-Agency Relations, Francis Langumba Keili.

Freetown Flood 1

However an actual assessment shows seven disaster prone areas and twenty that are prone to flooding.

Out of these 20 sites, 13 are inland and 7 are areas that fall within the bay, creeks and wharfs. The 7 bay areas are: Kroo Bay, White Man’s Bay, Susan’s Bay, Mabella, Congo Town, Kanikay, Madina and Mafenbe.

The inland areas identified to be prone to flooding were: Lumley- Babadorie, Amadu lane; Wilkinson Road- Cockeril, Indian Temple; Main Motor Road Brookfields- King Harman Road Junction, Bright Street; Hill Cot Road and immediate vicinity; Samba gutter, Ministry of Works compound onto Joaque bridge; Siaka Stevens Street- Pultney Street; Eastern Police-Annie Walsh roundabout, Kissy Road Junction- Mountain Cut; Africanus Road on to former Shell Company; Ashobi Corner- Blackhall Road; and Banana Water, Oloshoro.

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In an interview with ONS Director of Disaster Management, John Vandy Rogers, he explained that looking at the topography of Freetown “we realize that during the rainy season we do have high run of water flowing down hill flooding human settlement. This is because over the years people have inculcated the habit of dumping their trash into stream channels, waterways and drainages hence when these drainages clog it often cause flash flood during the rains.”

He continued, “we’ve been engaging the local people because it is pertinent that we get them to desist from such practices, because at the end of the day they are going to feel the direct impact.”

Over an above, the Director said “people need to take care of their own security so that at the end of the day we would be singing from the same hymn sheet.”

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He revealed that a lot of sensitization is going on, which is key. “When you have a public that is well informed it is a public that is well protected, this is why this kind of engagement is very important,” he said.

Mr. Rogers further noted that they have developed a Disaster Response Plan, which is inclusive of all agencies involved national as well as international.

He said that there are several options open to government but the one they are pursuing is clearing the stream channels, noting that mitigation is “cheaper than reacting.