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Sierra Leone News: Congo Town prone to disaster

A Section of Congo Town used for dwellingSome Sierra Leoneans have built block houses  and many shacks in  ghastly nestled rocks and dumping site water alleys, in a horrifying scenario at Congo Town which environmentalist and health workers claim is  ‘disaster prone’ and any failure by local authorities will cause a catastrophe.
Congo Town Bridge has become noisy and sprawling with signboards top up and grocery kiosks, children meandering with buckets and gallons of water just across the bridge, heaps of garbage with heavy stench while pigs, dogs, and humans walk past each other without hesitation.
A dark smoke hangs over the air as a result of women smoking their fish at sprawling kitchens for the market in an environment that is not hygienic.
The land most of the people are toiling on was reclaimed by dumping piles of garbage and mud on the water alleys to occupy a place they call a home to sleep.
A National Red Cross Staff told Awoko that the people are living on the edge of life, sleeping among garbage, pigs, rats, bugs, mosquitoes and stench with wretchedness, so we have declared Congo Town, Crab Town, and Kolleh Town among the many other nasty slums in Freetown, as disaster prone areas.
The road leading to inside Gray -bush by Congo Town Bridge is engulfed with shacks and many ditches. The roads are also muddy.
Thousands of people are currently living in miserable condition at Congo Town, as some of the houses are built on pullover rocks, and dirty stagnant waters with distressing smell.
Children, youths, adults and the aged, wallow in filth at Congo Town. The stream that was also running has run dry, causing unbearable suffering for the inhabitants.
“We want to educate the people to understand the consequences of their stay in slum communities, so as to reduce the rate of disasters in their communities which will cause deaths and loss of properties. “World Vision Sierra Leone Emergency Response Coordinator Momoh Juana told AWOKO.
Councillor Emmanuel Saidu Conteh of the Congo Town Community also said disaster risk reduction can only be achieved through sensitization within his community.
He said his community is among the disaster prone communities in Freetown and cautioned against indiscriminate reclaiming of land pointing out that most of the homes lack basic toilet facility and garbage site, so they dump everything on the road and water alleys which causes blockage.
By Saidu Bah
Friday October 18, 2013

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