UN building may collapse
April 13, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Even as government’s attention is currently focused on road construction and other infrastructural activities, a devastating disaster looms in central Freetown as the former UN building, situated on Siaka Stevens Street, is in danger of imminent collapse.
“It could go at any minute; the potential for disaster is very great. If the building does fall, it will gravely affect the supply of electricity to millions of Sierra Leoneans as the area houses the Electricity House and other important government institutions,” says Mohamed Suma, one of the workers who have been occupying the building.
The building was commissioned by late President Siaka Stevens in 1980 and has for a long time being considered dangerous, not least because of a fire disaster it suffered few years ago.
Some public institutions, including the Office of the Ombudsman, National Petroleum Unit, Citizens Bureau, which used to occupy the building, have relocated, as the state of the 10 meters long building has been deteriorating at an ever-increasing speed recently.
According to one source, the chance of a total and immediate collapse of the building now looms very high, although there are moves by the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure to prevent that.
Engineers from the ministry had reportedly advised departments occupying the building to quit with immediate effect as there is no urgent solution to the problem.
“I am currently looking out for an office space because everybody has vacated the building,” said Foday Moris, head of Citizens Bureau in Sierra Leone. “The situation is serious and I think serious steps must be taken considering the location of the building and its subsequent effects if it finally collapsed.”
It could be recalled that on 9 August, 2013 the historic King Jimmy Bridge, a colonial relic, collapsed in Freetown, killing at least 10 people.
“The Works Ministry only visited the area after the disaster,” observed 40-year-old Umaru Kamara.