May 6, 2016 By Memunatu Bangura
Director of Planning, Research and International Relations at Office of National Security (ONS) has disclosed that some corporate institutions that pledged to support the disaster management fund have refused to honour their pledges.
Francis Lagumba Keille said when the disaster management fund was launched by President Ernest Bai Koroma, various corporate institutions pledged over Le400 million, but only paid Le77 million.
He described the situation as not honouring a gentle man’s agreement, adding that bulk of the fund was yet to be paid into the account, despite continued reminders.
“Most of these institutions made these pledges whenever they are in the presence of politicians but failed to honour those pledges whenever they are ask,” he said.
Keilli further explained that government spent over Le4 billion from its own resources to manage the last September flooding that occurred in the country, adding that to avoid such financial constrains the ONS had budgeted Le15 billion for this year, should any disaster occur.
He said ONS had identified 28 disaster prone areas in the Western Area that are not fit for human habitation, adding that they have also established the garbage, sensitisation and voluntary relocation committees as part of preparedness ahead of the rainy season.
He maintained that over the years the ONS have been providing licenses and registration to private security companies, vetting of public officials at the expense of the organization, without collecting fees from any of the organisations.
According to the director, the sensitisation committee would develop programmes to sensitise and engage high risk communities, adding that on 15 May this year, the garbage committee would embark on a cleaning exercise to clear gutters and drainages in the country.
The director noted that as the rainy season fast approaches, there are areas that are likely to experience flooding, landslide and mudslide because of human activities like deforestation and structural activities in the hillside and other parts of the country.
“People have constructed houses in water ways. Deforestation in hillsides and structural effects in Freetown are some of the main causes of flooding in the country,” he said.
He reiterated that people living in disaster prone areas should not expect government to relocate them and take care of them forever, adding that they must have legitimate documents to be part of the relocation.