Fear continues to heighten at Yopath Village


…as quarry operators fail to refurbish cracked houses

June 13, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai

The failure of three quarry operators in Ropath village to refurbish over 50 cracked houses which were destroyed as a result of rock blasting has heightened fear among victims.

Ropath village is situated in Koya chiefdom, Port Loko district, in northern Sierra Leone. Very close to Ropath is the popular Okra Hill, where the notorious Westside Boys were camped towards the end of the civil conflict in Sierra Leone and mayhem to the civilian population. They were subsequently routed by British Special Forces in 2000 in an hostage operation dubbed ‘Operation Barras’.

The area now hosts three quarries – Malik, HDF and Co and Foresight- which like the Westside Boys disturb the peace and tranquility of the village. However, in the current instance, the threat emanates from sounds from blasting of rocks, thick dust emission from crushing of stones, with the attendant cracking of dwelling homes.

Concord Times recently spoke to the three quarry operators and officials at the Environment Protection Agency, with the former promising to refurbish the cracked houses, claiming to have bought bags of cement, sand dunes and iron rods to fix the potential disaster.

However, as we go to press, reliable sources in the village have informed us that no repairs have taken place yet and that as a result affected residents continue to live in fear.

“We have not seen anything happening since they promised to maintenance our cracked houses. If fact, the operators have never called us to a meeting in order to tell us their plans for the maintenance of the cracked houses,” said Alimamy Bangura, a resident of Ropath village.

He however added that dust that used to emanate from crushing stones was now a thing of the past due to heavy rains in recent weeks, but that he remained concerned that foundations of most of the houses have weakened, caused by rock blasting. He urged the quarry operators to make good their promise of fixing the cracks strengthening foundations in order to prevent a tragedy in the village.

Another victim, Adama Kargbo, said she was informed that two trips of sand have been supplied by the quarry operators but noted that would be insufficient to refurbish 50 cracked houses.

“I strongly believe some of the houses in this village have got faulty foundations because of the operations of these quarries. These houses need to be strengthened or reconstructed. We’ve been getting sleepless night because of the conditions of our houses,” she disclosed and added that HDF and Co have reneged on their promise to send engineers to repair the houses.

However, Administrative Officer of HDF and Co, Ade Metzger, insisted they have recently supplied bags of cement and two trips of sand dunes as part of their commitment to repair the houses.

“We have not supplied the iron rods to them because the vehicle that should have transported the rods got a breakdown. We have maintenance it and probably they will receive the rods tomorrow,” he said.

Meanwhile, it is apparent that no repair work has begun in the village despite assurances from the three quarry operators.

These quarries in Ropath village, Koya chiefdom are accused of noise and dust pollution