May 11, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Paramount Chief of Gbendembu Ngowahun Chiefdom in the Bombali District,Northern Sierra Leone, P.C Bai Kandeh Baba Kieha III, has told Concord Times in an exclusive interview that residents of Gbendembu Township, which is the chiefdom headquarter town, are suffering a lot to access water due to acute shortage .
“Since I was born in this town, this was the first time we have experienced an acute shortage of water in the township. We used to have a dam constructed for us by the Wesleyan missionaries but it has long been destroyed,” P.C Bai Kandeh Baba Kieha III disclosed.
According to the Paramount Chief, the entire township has one hand- pump well and that they have requested people to pay a minimal amount of Le2,0000 to ensure that the facility is maintenance every month.
“That is the only source of pure drinking water for a population of over 10,000 people. Few years ago, we got water tanks with the support of one of our own, Dr. Richard Konteh, but the inverter that used to pump the water from the well to the tanks have been destroyed by thunder two years ago.”
“I have complained about the acute shortage of water to the Bombali District Council Chairman. He has taken a tour to all of the defunct tanks and dam here and he has seen that our situation is serious. He promised to salvage the situation but nothing has yet been done,” he explained.
He further narrated that in addition to the shortage of water at the township, they have no government hospital.
“We only have one health centre here and it is owned by the Wesleyan mission. As a result of the absence of government hospital, there is no free health care for lactating mothers, pregnant women and children under five. Gbendembu is one of the biggest towns after Kamakwe and Makeni in the Bombali district, so our women should benefit from the free health care initiative,” he explained.
He added that sick people do walk 15 or more miles to access health care service.
He cited the absence of solar light as another challenge, adding that even though solar panels were installed in various district and chiefdom headquarter towns, Gbendembu was neglected.