Flash Floods 21: the worst is yet to come in Sierra Leone
Flooding in Freetown is imminent; like COVID-19, which assumed the name because the pandemic struck in 2019, so too, “Flash Flood 21” would best describe this year’s anticipated flooding as distinguished from last year’s and the 2014 ‘Horror at Mortormeh landslide in Regent Village, and all other flood disasters since, that were triggered by torrential rains.
The underlying causes of flooding continue to grow by the day: erosion, poor solid and domestic waste management, indiscriminate housing construction, deforestation, inadequate drainage system, the complete absence of urban town planning, growing slum communities everywhere, and a population the majority of which comprise the less civil of society. It is they who are the operative causers; prime among them are the ubiquitous street traders; followed by thieves, vagrants, beggars, the homeless literally living on, and of, the streets of Freetown.
No matter the City Council of Freetown has been trying to rid the capital city of rubbish strewn on streets and gutters, it cannot still keep pace with the rate at which the population produce and dispose of household waste daily. Each year comes with a new proposal from the Mayor of Freetown, Mrs. Yvonne Aki-Sawyer to deal with garbage; and each year, the problem assumes a new dimension that calls for a new approach. And so it goes on and on and on.
Until and unless the government completely depoliticize good order and discipline among the general citizenry and stop this invidious ‘Street Trading’ politics that fuels traders’ resistance to comply with Council’s regulations, clear SLRA’s Right of Way occupied by an unbroken chain of trading stalls from east to west; random street garages, Freetown would ever remain a fool’s Paradise for the naïve, narrow minded and unexposed.
The rains have started in earnest, and this is July. The yearly ritual of dealing with the aftermath of flash floods by ‘stakeholders’ has begun. The same old political rhetoric admonishing citizens to comply with waste disposal regulations, the pretentious disaster relief donations to flood victims, the continued non enforcement of laws by Council and the police, would run its course all over again in vain. Come November with the dry season, it’s back to square one; business as usual.
The Regent landslide in 2014 might be the most horrific yet in the history of disasters in Freetown, but if things continue as it is, then we are yet to see the worst.
By Julian Walker
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