SEVEN DEAD, OVER THREE THOUSAND HOMELESS!
Seven people were reported dead with thousands made homeless following turbulent rains on 16th September, 2015 in the capital city of Freetown.
Four of the reported deaths occurred at Dwazak and one along Pike Street in Central Freetown. The rains started yesterday morning and lasted for almost five hours.
Eye witnesses revealed that a 9 year-old boy, returning from school, was swept away in a wide drainage where rainwater pushed down in high torrent. Onlookers including area boys were unable to rescue the boy as pounded away in walls of spilled water.
The situation in Freetown was one of sorrow as a number of homes were destroyed leaving residents homeless.
In Dwazark, western Freetown, a bolder was said to have rolled over damaging two homes and killing four people with several more injured, remaining in critical condition.
The remains of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s unfortunate disaster are currently at the mortuary awaiting postmortem and burial.
The heavy rains toppled over homes at Murray Town while flooded streets prevented motorists from moving about safely.
Popular slum dwelling community Kroo Bay in Central Freetown was also hit by the impact of the rains but a team of military personnel was up in time to rescue people from the seeming danger although disaster struck over some homes with news about little children washed away.
Journalists who went to the area to assess the situation were not allowed by youths as they were parading with sticks and other dangerous weapons.
Kroo Bay and other slum communities have always been affected when it rains and yesterday was not an exception.
Report of vehicles damaged along the Pademba Road PWD Junction also formed part of yesterday’s fear. The rain destroyed properties worth millions of Leones.
It is still not clear how many people might have died during that period but information gathered suggests many people lost their lives as a result of the rain.
The damage recorded during this period was enormous including the loss of lives. Most residents within the City are now counting their losses.
Around Campbell Street, running water entered homes destroying properties and leaving people shattered. The amount of destruction done yesterday is yet to be determined as those affected are still counting their losses.
A government press release states that ‘GOVERNMENT REGRETS TO INFORM THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT THE CONTINUOUS HEAVY RAIN DURING THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS HAS RESULTED IN SEVERE FLOODING IN PARTS OF THE WESTERN AREA INCLUDING KROO BAY, KROOTOWN ROAD, BROOK STREET, SAMBA GUTTER, FALCON BRIDGE, GRAY BUSH, SPUR LOOP, SPUR ROAD, LUMLEY, MALAMA, WILKINSON ROAD, DOKORTY, COTTAGE HOSPITAL, CULVERT, PEACOCK FARM, MOYIBA, MOA WHARF/EASTERN POLICE/MAGAZINE CUT AXIS, OLD WHARF AND BAI BUREH ROAD.
THE FLOODING HAS DEVASTATED MANY SETTLEMENTS, CAUSED FOUR CONFIRMED DEATHS SO FAR, AND LEFT MANY PEOPLE INJURED AND HOMELESS. AT AN EMERGENCY MEETING OF KEY MDAS CHAIRED BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT AT STATE HOUSE TODAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2015, THE FOLLOWING MEASURES HAVE BEEN APPROVED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AS A FIRST LINE OF RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS:
DEPLOYMENT OF MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SANITATION PERSONNEL IN HOSPITALS AND PERIPHERAL HEALTH UNITS TO RECEIVE PEOPLE WHO REQUIRE MEDICAL TREATMENT;
DEPLOYMENT OF THE POLICE AND THE MILITARY IN A MILITARY AID TO CIVIL COMMUNITIES (MACC) ENGAGEMENT TO HELP MAINTAIN ORDER AND SALVAGE THE SITUATION;
OPENING OF THE SIAKA STEVENS STADIUM AT BROOKFIELDS FOR EMERGENCY SETTLEMENT OF DISPLACED PERSONS. THE ATTOUGA STADIUM AND THE OPEN FIELD AT FERRY JUNCTION ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR USE BY AFFECTED PERSONS IN THE EASTERN PART OF THE CAPITAL;
ACTIVATION OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL SECURITY (ONS) EMERGENCY TOLL-FREE NUMBER 119 FOR USE BY THE PUBLIC TO REPORT SITUATIONS CONNECTED WITH THE DISASTER.
THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS INFORMED THAT SIERRA LEONE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THE COUNTRIES IN WEST AFRICA THAT WILL EXPERIENCE HEAVY MONSOON RAINS FOR THE NEXT SIX DAYS WITH ALL ITS ATTENDANT DAMAGING CONSEQUENCES. THEREFORE, IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE LOSS OF LIVES AND PROPERTIES, PEOPLE LIVING IN VULNERABLE AREAS, PARTICULARLY HILL TOPS AND FORESHORES, ARE ADVISED TO MOVE OUT OF THOSE LOCATIONS TO SAFE AREAS.
FURTHERMORE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND SCHOOL CHILDREN CURRENTLY TAKING THE WASCE EXAMINATIONS, ALL CITIZENS ARE REQUESTED TO STAY AT HOME TOMORROW 17TH SEPTEMBER, 2015. BUSES WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO CONVEY SCHOOL CHILDREN TO THEIR EXAMINATION CENTRES. THE SECURITY AGENCIES WILL PROVIDE INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE ON MOTORABLE ROUTES AND ACCESSIBLE AREAS.
HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT SYMPATHIZES WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY THIS FLOODING DISASTER AND WISHES TO ASSURE THEM THAT ARRANGEMENTS ARE BEING MADE TO BRING EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT TO THE DISPLACED AND INJURED. THE SITUATION IS BEING CLOSELY MONITORED AND REGULAR MEETINGS ARE BEING HELD TO BRING ALL PERSONNEL UP TO SPEED ON THE EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS.’