“Self Imposed” Flood Disaster Leaves Several Homeless in Monrovia

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As the month of June began introducing the rainy season, many residents who have homes in waterways and near swamps began the usual appeals to government to come to their aid.

Residents and garage owners near the Old Road Junction along the Tubman Boulevard while walking in the flooded street were heard saying, “Old ma come for us, water has taken over our homes. No food and all our clothes and mattresses are carried away by the flood.”
As a result of the downpour coupled with the blockage of waterways and the construction of private homes in swampy areas, water hardly flows downstream, but spreads in communities, entering into residential areas.

At the Old Road Junction, the “Executive Car Wash” is built on the waterway right opposite President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s residence, blocking the current of water from upper Old Road and erosion coming from the end of the James Spring Payne Airfield.
It was impossible for smaller vehicles to turn the bend from Old Road to the main road without risking being submerged. Even SUVs and other bigger vehicles taking the risk to cross the flooded road could take in water.

At the SKD Boulevard Junction, residents were on Monday seen restlessly wandering when erosion from the sloping ELWA Junction end forcefully found its way into the lowland now occupied by TOTAL, the French oil giant which is constructing a petrol station there.
Residents near the swamp relocated their household belongings upland as water began paying them a visit. “The rain is not too much to make this area flooded, but because TOTAL and others have built in the swamp blocking the waterway we are facing this problem,” a frustrated resident exclaimed.

There is also no drainage along the road leading to ELWA Junction from the SKD Boulevard, therefore erosion has to clear off or affect any structure built near the road in the vicinity.
Along the ELWA route on the other side, residents in the community opposite the decommissioned ETU were all standing up in frustration, while children were playing innocently in the running erosion as water took over their homes.

An Upjit Singh Sachdera (otherwise known as Jeety) was seen covered halfway by the flood water while buildings in lowland areas around the stores were totally covered and dwellers forced to vacate.
Flood disaster is a problem faced in Monrovia and many other parts of the country every year when the rainy season comes.

While Monrovia itself is geographically surrounded by water, heavy rainfall causes running streams and rivers to overflow. The condition is worsened by deliberate construction of structures on drainages, in lowlands or swamps and along waterways thus ignoring government warnings to observe “Zoning laws.”

As a result, drainages in areas including Clara Town and Waterside are clogged, making it difficult for water and human wastes to flow freely.
Residents in slum communities including those behind the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre were forced out of their homes last year because of people constructing houses in swamps and along waterways.

Also, people who built houses in the swamp in vicinities extending from Coca Cola Factory to Mount Barclay, were forced to vacate last year when flooding completely took over their houses.
Amid this annual phenomenon, not much is heard from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is clothed with the responsibility to restrict people building in such areas.
It is only the Ministry of Public Works that has sent out warnings to those building on drainages and in the alleys, or on public land that they will face eviction this year.

Now that people in affected communities are seeing the early signs of the rainy season, one can presume that the first prayer is where to seek refuge, as history may repeat itself with more severe flooding in Monrovia and other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the director of communications at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Selgrean Gomah, has assured the Daily Observer that the EPA would address itself to the situation today, Wednesday. He did not elaborate.

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