June 22, 2015 By Samuel Ben Turay
Residents of Kroo Bay are gripped by panic as to what could be their fate during the raining season which has been ushered in by heavy rainstorms.
The slum community is often battered by rainstorm which causes flooding and the attendant destruction of property for thousands of its residents each year when the rains pour in Freetown, especially during the months of July and August.
Already, there have been signs of rainstorm this year which has caused residents to fear for the worst, not least as the country grapples to end a stubborn Ebola epidemic.
In an interview with community authorities last week, Mohamed S. Sesay, a community youth leader, told Concord Times that few of Kroo Bay’s shanty houses have roofs that can withstand the heavy rainstorms, and confirmed residents are living in panic.
He said the community does not have the wherewithal to protect against the looming disaster, adding: “We are indeed vulnerable here. This year’s storms have panicked the entire area.”
Almost perennially, Kroo Bay residents suffer a lot during the monsoon season as they lose property and loved ones to flooding. “Most of us don’t go out during the rainy season. We stay to protect our homes from any emergency when it rains,” Sesay lamented.
Kroo Bay is the largest slum community in the country with an estimated 10,000 habitants. Each year during the rainy season, Kroo Bay community experiences flooding more than once, and on each occasion floods invade homes washing away furniture, utensils and clothes.
Mohamed P. Kargbo, an elder in the community, agreed that the community is in a state of panic. He said the flooding is often caused by the overflow of a huge colonial gutter – Samba gutter- which overflows with water from the hills that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Successive governments have talked about plans to relocate residents of the slum community but to no avail. Hence for residents, each raining season brings with it a new challenge of survival.
But this year, unlike other years, poses an extra challenge of coping with an unpredictable weather and deadly virus, which has decimated the country’s population, including many in Kroo Bay.