Kroo Bay Bridge connecting Samba Gutter into the slum Kroo Bay one of the major slums in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city, is also one of the areas mostly prone to flooding during the raining season.
Last September, hundreds of families lost their properties and an equal number were dislodged as a result of a huge flood that displaced hundreds of people across the Freetown.
The government, in a bid to protect its citizens from experiencing such hazards, has relocate a number of these flood victims to safer areas such as Six Mile in the Koya Chiefdom east of Freetown. Flooding in Freetown is a vicious circle, it comes and goes on a regular basis in the raining season after which, victims reclaim their lives and move. So has been the case after the September 2015 flooding, which is recorded as the biggest and disastrous flooding Freetown has ever seen.
On Tuesday 5th April, Awoko Newspaper visited this slum community and spoke with the Chief in the community, Pa Alimamy Kargbo Kabempa I, about the sanitation in the slum and the issue of the flood as another raining season fast approaches.
Chief Kabempa I squarely blamed the cause of Kroo Bay’s flooding on people in Freetown residing on hill top communities. He maintained that it is those residents, whose garbage and filth dumped in gutters that flow down and get stuck at Kroo Bay causing blockages along the route of the water flow from uptown Freetown to downstream.
“The flood is caused by the garbage people throw in the gutters from uptown and hilltop communities. They cause the floods in our community. It is their filth and rubbish that settles down here and blocks the free passage of water. The filth you see around is not manufactured by people in Kroo Bay, it is brought down to them”, Chief Kabempa I fumed.
When Kroo Bay floods, water fill the homes of residents and many a times, it washes away properties and animals. Chief Pa Alimamy Kabempa I went on to maintain that they dump their garbage and other rubbish directly in the sea, but that those in the uptown, mere drop theirs in gutters and street corners only for rain water to sweep them along.
The Chief has therefore suggested a remedy since it they who feel the floods the most. He has suggested that the Main Kroo Bay Bridge which connects with the ‘Samba Gutter’- one of the longest drainages in Freetown should be demolished and reconstructed with higher retaining walls that can stop rain water from flowing into their community.
Speaking on the issue of sanitation in the community, the chief said since late last year, they have been mobilising the youth in the community to conduct general cleaning exercises in the community.
“With the support of the Member of Parliamentarian of the Constituency, Francis Kowa, we have been cleaning our community at least twice every month,” Chief Kabempa I stated, adding that the cleaning exercises have improved sanitation and risk of disease in the chiefdom.
Meanwhile the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Abu Bakarr Fofanah has disclosed that the government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation will partner with the Local Councils to reintroduce Sanitary Officers all over the country. These officers will reserve the power to arrest, charge and prosecute people who go against the sanitary laws of the country. The partnership will also incorporate the Sierra Leone Police and the Judiciary to arrest and prosecute sanitary offenders.