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Environment Minister cautions squatters at Mortemeh

July 8, 2020

By Mohamed Massaquoi

Forest guards destroying houses in the red and yellow zones at Motomeh

Minister of the Environment yesterday said his ministry is determined to fully implement presidential mandate on the protection of the environment, stating that all houses constructed within the red and yellow zones must be demolished forthwith.

Professor Foday M. Jaward made the statement after a joint demolition exercise embarked on by the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) in collaboration with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), headed by the Environment Ministry at the Motormeh community.

In the morning hours of August 14, 2017, significant mudflow events occurred at that community following three days of torrential rainfall, mass wasting of mud and debris damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings in the city, killing 1,141 people and leaving more than 3,000 homeless.

Causal factors for the mudslides include the region’s particular topography and climate – with Freetown’s elevation close to sea level and its greater position within a tropical monsoon climate. Those factors were assisted by the generally poor state of the region’s infrastructure and loss of protective natural drainage systems from periods according to environmentalists.

But Professor Jaward said a presidential directive has been given to prevent people from constructing houses within the demarcated areas.

 “It is a directive from His Excellency the president that nobody should build house in the red or yellow zones. If you do so, we will demolish it.This is a clear message to everybody that if you build a house in those areas we will demolish them. We know that there is lawlessness in this country so as a responsible government; we need to take care of our people. The demolition today is a warning to everybody, don’t even attempt to construct houses in those areas,” he said.

He added that despite the ministry of environment is new, yet all it affiliates organizations including the Environment Protection Agency, the National Protected Area Authority and others have been working assiduously to protect the environment.

“We have a mandate to be carried out.  I want to assure Sierra Leoneans that we will do our best to ensure that the right things are done,” he concluded.