August 24, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Statistic Sierra Leone has finally issued a report on the August 14th mudslide and flooding that killed hundreds of people and rendered many more homeless, stating that 672 were residing at Mortomeh, Mount Sugar Loaf in the Regent Community.
The report gave a definitive GPS mapping of the affected areas in order to determine and estimate the population and infrastructure impacted by the floods and mudslide at Regent (Mortomeh) Dwazark, Kamayama, and culvert among others.
It indicated that the enumeration area affected at Mortomeh,Mount Sugar Loaf, in the Regent community, was marked as EA 28 which had a population of 362 male and 310 females, with a total number of 672 people residing in the community, according to figures from the 2015 Population and Housing Census.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux, said close to five hundred people have been buried as a result of the disaster, which he said clearly indicates that several hundreds more, out the of 672 residents in the Mortomeh community are still missing.
“We got this report from the Statistician General, Mohamed King Koroma and his technical team for a better understanding of how many people were affected especially in the Mortomeh community and other areas. This information will now be collaborated with the data from the National Civil Registration Secretariat to get the actual victims of this incident,” he said.
He said the recovery of more dead bodies is still in progress with the international community helping in that direction.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has noted that the country now needs immediate assistance to save lives and provide for those who have lost their homes
“The authorities should have learned lessons from previous similar incidents and put in place systems to prevent, or at least minimise, the consequences of these disasters. Devastating floods are now an annual occurrence in the country’s capital. Yet, due to a lack of regulation and insufficient consideration for minimum standards and environmental laws, millions of Sierra Leoneans are living in dangerously vulnerable homes.” Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues said, adding that right to adequate housing under international law requires that every home be habitable, which includes providing protections against disasters such as this.
However, poor regulation and failures to ensure environmental factors are part of urban planning in Sierra Leone often result in structures being built that are both unsafe and situated in dangerous locations.
He said in 2015, more than 10 people were killed and thousands more left homeless after flooding hit the capital. Hundreds were forced to camp in the national stadium for weeks while alternative accommodation was found for them.
“We call on the international community to support the emergency relief efforts of the Sierra Leonean government. The thousands of men, women and children who have lost their homes urgently need temporary accommodation and access to proper sanitation and healthcare, we would also urge that at this critical time, the government ensures all emergency support is delivered in a completely accountable and transparent manner. There must be no repeat of the mismanagement and corruption that blighted the response to the country’s Ebola crisis.” Kamara concluded.