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…Failure to remove boulders heightens fear

March 6, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai

Residents of Mount Aureol, Mountain Cut, and Upper Fullah Street communities are living in perpetual fear because government has refused to remove some boulders at the Rock-Stone community, which pose serious danger.

According to them, they have made several calls for government to remove the boulders, but to no avail.

Sulaiman Bangura, a resident of Rock-Stone community, says the boulders have been in the said location since time immemorial, reiterating that they have made several moves for the authorities to remove  them, but noted that nothing is being done in that direction.

He says they recently held a meeting with members of the community and that they decided contributing some minimal amount of money to hire bulldozers to remove the boulders.

“We know it is not an easy venture to embark on without the help of government but we will do our best. We are aware of the fact that we are at risk because of the position of the boulders. They can roll down at any time from now and they have the potential to destroy houses and other properties or even kill dozens of residents. The situation will even be worst if the rocks roll at night when everybody will be asleep,” he explains.

Abdul Bangura says they are not happy staying in the community but notes that they have no option because they cannot not afford to pay rent in safer communities.

Youth leader of the community, Osman Kargbo, says that although the situation in the community is worrisome, they are also afraid to heap pressure on the government for fear of being relocated to communities outside Freetown.

He alleges that the flood victims that were taken to Mile Six in the Western Area Rural District have been expressing concern over poor health and water facilities, food, market centres, and other recreational facilities.

“If government decides to relocate us to a place that does not make us confortable, we will not go there. That is a fact. The only thing we want now is to get these stones removed from here,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Research Officer at the Department of Disaster Management in the Office of National Security (ONS), Nathaniel Kamara, says they have visited the community and advised residents not to stay there, considering the fact that they are exposed to danger.

“We have made our position clear to them but they were insisting that they have now settled in the community. They claimed to have got houses there and that they could not afford to huge amount of money that landlords demand to rent their houses,” he says.

He avers that if the ONS decides to demolish houses around the rocks, there are several implications of landownership, human rights violations, among other things, to such decision.

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