By Foday Moriba Conteh
The collaborative efforts of Partnering to Serve Humanity Consortium, consisting of Tzu Chi Foundation, Healey International Relief Foundation, Lanyi Foundation, and Caritas Freetown, culminated in a three-day Flood Mitigation Exercise aimed at enhancing flood preparedness and resilience in the Kroo Bay Community. The initiative, which encompassed activities such as cleaning and awareness-raising, concluded on Tuesday, 29th August 2023.
The Flood Mitigation Exercise was meticulously crafted by the Consortium to equip Kroo Bay residents with crucial skills and knowledge essential for effectively responding to and mitigating flood-related risks.
Senesie Koroma, Project Team Lead at the Disaster Management Project at Caritas Freetown, emphasized that this endeavor exemplified the Consortium’s commitment to safeguarding citizens and enhancing community resilience, revealing that the Consortium had been apprised by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) about the impending heavy rains in Sierra Leone and neighboring countries, classified as a level 4 hazard. Following this alert, the consortium initially aimed to implement flood mitigation projects in seven communities. Due to financial constraints, the focus shifted to the Kroo Bay Community.
He stated that the flood mitigation effort was specifically designed to alleviate the vulnerability of Kroo Bay from flooding, a long-standing issue for the community. Through raising awareness, imparting preparedness measures, and advocating for rapid and effective response strategies, the three-day initiative empowered residents to take proactive measures in safeguarding lives and property.
Senesie Koroma said that raising awareness about flood risks, teaching preparedness measures, and promoting swift and effective response strategies are very important towards ending flooding in communities, noting that the 3 days flood mitigation exercise has empowered residents to take proactive steps in safeguarding their lives and property.
He said the entire exercise was done in collaboration with the community stakeholders, stating that the specific areas for the exercise were identified by the community.
Senesie Koroma concluded by calling on residents to support the flood mitigation exercise by taking heed of the flood mitigation awareness raising in order to mitigate flood within their community.
The Deputy Chairman of the Kroo Bay Community, Mohamed Thonkla Koroma, lauded the Consortium for its dedicated engagement and noted the tangible outcomes that had already emerged.
Mohamed Thonkla Koroma emphasized that the cleaning of main drainages during the exercise had a direct impact on the community’s resilience. Despite heavy rain on Sunday, 27th August 2023, there were no reported incidents of flooding due to the proactive measures taken during the three-day initiative.
He earnestly called on the Consortium to continue their flood mitigation efforts, recognizing the positive influence it had on the community’s vulnerability to flooding.
Many voices within the community commended the collaborative spirit of the Consortium, hailing the success of the flood mitigation initiative as a testament to the power of uniting diverse organizations under a shared mission.
The effective coordination among Caritas, Tzu Chi, Healey Foundation, and Lanyi Foundation underscored the potential for significant positive change when driven by compassion and a common goal. This partnership’s pragmatic solutions and active community engagement provide an inspiring example, particularly in a country like Sierra Leone grappling with escalating environmental challenges.
The Flood Mitigation Exercise conducted in Kroo Bay Community serves as a testament to the tangible impact that coordinated efforts can have on vulnerable populations, ensuring their safety, well-being, and long-term resilience.