The Rains Have Begun; Disaster Returns

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Year in and year out, when the Rainy Season starts in Sierra Leone, the expectant result is disaster in various forms.

In the last decade, Sierra Leone and more particularly Freetown, has had more than a fair share of disasters happening during the Rainy Season.

However, it is both unfortunate and ironical that the authorities responsible for managing environmental issues and those responsible for ensuring that construction of dwelling houses is restricted in disaster-prone areas, have not learnt any lesson from the many disasters that take place during the Rainy Season.

In other words, we are simply repeating the same old story every year when it comes to the Rainy Season.

The rains this year have just begun. We have not witnessed torrential rains yet. But even the ‘small’ rains that have stated are already casting shadows of events to come. Branches of the iconic Cotton Tree in central Freetown broke; a perimeter fence in Bankole community, Moa Wharf, East of Freetown collapsed killing six people; rooftops were blown off in a windstorm; the intersection of Dundas Street, Pademba Road and Mends Street is once again flooded with ankle-deep garbage and yet, like in years past, nothing was done and therefore, we expect that nothing will be done.

What beats the imagination is the fact that huge sums of money is allocated to combating climate change and natural disasters. Funds are made available by the Government and international bodies to prepare beforehand management of floods and other natural disasters. However, as stated earlier, year in and year out the same situation arises whenever we experience rains in this country.

We need not remind ourselves that some of the most gruesome, tragic and deadly natural disasters such as flash floods, landslides resulted in loss of lives and damage to property worth hundreds of millions of Leones.

A Creole parable says: “way you blame di dog, blame di bone.” Loosely interpreted in English it means: “when you blame the dog, you might as well blame the owner.” This means that while people affected by natural disasters tend to blame the Government for their predicament, they forget that it was not the Government that told them to build dwelling houses in disaster-prone areas – along river beds, waterways, hilltops etc.

Therefore, it is incumbent on each and every Sierra Leonean to ensure that they put safety before anything else during the Rainy Season.

The Government agencies responsible for managing the environment and those responsible for ensuring that people do not build dwelling houses in disaster-prone areas, must be robust and vigilant this time round in order to avert calamities that befall unsuspecting people during the Rainy Season.


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