August 15, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Head of Climatology at the Metrological Department has said in an exclusive interview that the heavy wind and downpour of rains yesterday which destroyed hundreds of houses and killed over 200 people came from the West Coast of neighbouring Guinea.
Patrick Musa told our reporter that the department had mounted weather forecast equipment at various transmitting sites hosted by the Africell mobile telecommunication company across the country to gather reliable data on daily weather condition in the country, adding that unfortunately the entire system went off yesterday as a result of internet connectivity.
“I was in Lungi yesterday with my colleague and we saw what was exactly happening. I immediately came over to our headquarters to continue our monitoring process but the internet was down. We have appropriately informed state authorities about the weather condition for this year because every year our organisation send representatives to a conference were they predict seasonal climatic situation for West Africa, Cameroon and Chad; this year my director and my colleague in Lungi, Sylvester Coker, went to Ghana for this sensational forecast and it was predicted that there will be heavy rain, too much of thundering activities with too much of wind. Government was appropriately informed, including our Minister of Transport, Leonard Balugu Koroma,” he said, adding that the department was grappling with a lot of challenges, including lack of equipment.
“With the commitment of our minister in transforming this institution into an agency we will be able to get more modern equipment to appropriately inform the people on weather patterns not only in the raining season but dry season as well,” he said and added that they have informed the Minister of Transport to secure fibre optic connection at the department to facilitate reliable and serviceable internet facility.
Many of the public have been very critical of the Metrological Department for not providing correct weather information to aid informed decision-making, with some even suggesting that the institution is a shadow of its former self.
There have been efforts to modernise the department and transform it into an autonomous agency, but lack of equipment, which indicates neglect by government, means even a change of name would not help prevent calamities like the one in the morning of 14 August.