The Freetown City Council (FCC) has called on residents, especially those who are living in flood prone areas, to stay alert as heavy torrents are expected in the next three days. Residents living in lowlands and floodplains along the coast of Freetown have been advised by the council to be vigilant, especially at night, as they have an increased risk of flooding and other environmental disasters. The FCC is calling on individuals to report any weather-based disaster or contact the Office of National Security (ONS) on 076-612-775. Social media is awash with videos of several Freetown communities, roads and valleys inundated by heavy rains that threaten to trigger serious flooding and possible mudslide reminiscent of the 2017 mudslide disaster that took the lives of over a thousand people, mostly children and the elderly.
As the city continues to be pelted by heavy rains, government ministers from across various ministries including Water Resources, Lands and Country Planning, Environment, Local Government, and Defense, along with other government officials will conduct an assessment tour of the Western Area Rural District of Freetown today, Thursday 16th July to evaluate the level of encroachment on protected areas, especially critical areas hosting the city’s water catchments, and to produce mitigating strategy for these protected areas.
FCC says that, with support from several partners and the central government, it will continue to collaborate with the military to implement the city’s 2020 Flood Mitigation Program, as they have done in the last month in 52 communities across Freetown. According to the FCC, their interventions which include clearing of blocked culverts, drainages and silted gutters and waterways, help reduce incidents of flooding in certain vulnerable communities.
However, the council says that the current practice of building along waterways and in floodplains in parts of the city leaves many residents vulnerable, and that its flood mitigation activities cannot effectively address this land use planning challenge.
By Ophaniel Gooding