August 19, 2019
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has on Wednesday 14th August, distributed over 1,000 tree seedlings to Fogbo Community, Western Rural District.
Hellen Meyelle, UNDP Communications Analyst, said the tree seedling project activity follows a joint assessment conducted in the disaster-prone communities of Fogbo, Kaningo and Motormeh by key stakeholders comprising the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the UNDP.
She added that the assessment was to look at the existing landscape and the seeds that will suit the prone sites for both climate resilience and for agricultural purposes.
“Each site visited has unique characteristics that show the urgent need for reforestation. The seedlings distributed are mainly fruit trees, medicinal plants, fuel wood and fodder trees that will support the communities short, medium and long-term livelihoods,’’ she said.
She said the main purpose of implementing such project is to help facilitate the conservation of the environment in those disaster-prone areas through the planting of trees to reduce the incident of floods and fires.
“The overall aim of the project is to build the resilience of these communities towards the impacts of climate change. These communities and every other community across the world are experiencing early warning climate change signs. Therefore, the activity is underpinned by the urgent need for climate resilience initiatives,’’ the UNDP communications analyst said.
She said the memories of the devastating landslide that buried houses and residents of Motormeh two years ago is still fresh, adding that Kaningo was part of the communities that were badly affected by the August 14, 2017 landslides and flashfloods that took over 500 lives and displaced thousands.
She said Fogbo-a densely populated fishing community had experienced a devastating fire outbreak on 16th March, this year that destroyed 29 households and affected mainly fish mongers and petty traders.
Abdul Bah, Senior Environment Officer at EPA, said the visit was to distribute tools and seedlings to more than one thousand residents in the disaster-prone area.
“Fogbo Community is one of those communities that suffered from fire accident and they are having flash floods almost every year. Soil in Fogbo is sandy which causes some of the houses to be buried or submerged. We need to have trees that can hold the soil firmly,’’ he said,
He added that on the 20th of August, they would start the process of planting the trees, thus stating that the inhabitants of Fogbo would only receive stipends for the work.
“When you cut trees, you have exposed your villages to a lot of hazards. When you cut trees even the breeze coming does not have trees to hold it any longer, it will take off your palms, your zinc, flooding and lot of things will happen to you’’, Bah added.
The EPA Senior environment officer advised residents to stop cutting trees for the purpose of burning charcoal.
Sheiku Imam Rogers, Executive Director, Beautification, Rehabilitation and Conservation Organisation (BRACO) said he believes in tree planting, hence he was why he was supplying tree seedlings.
He added that there was need for more sensitization on the need for people to plant trees and to conserve the environment, noting that such sensitisation should be done in the various local languages so that people will understand better.
“Without planting a tree to save the environment, we found out we have so many pollutions around each community, in fact smoke emit from cooking is adds to pollute our environment. That’s why I have dedicated my life in advocating for tree planting in the country. I have planted millions of trees,’’ he said.
Headman of Fogbo Community, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, expressed happiness over the distribution of the trees and thanked the UNDP, EPA and its partners for bringing such scheme to his community.
He said the planting of trees was very important as it geared towards the safety of human lives, thus urging his subjects to be concern and to put hands on deck for the successful implementation of the project.
He assured the UNDP, EPA and the Ministry of Agriculture that the tree planting project would be sustainable and that they will take ownership of the process.
One of the volunteers at Fogbo, Salamatu M. Kamara, thanked the UNDP, EPA and other partners for the seedlings distributed to them, adding that she was happy to be part of the process to help save her community.
“If they plant these trees, it will protect us from flooding that affects us almost every year. We will take this process very important that’s why I took part in the distribution of the seedling,” she said.