Liberia: Climate Change-Induced Floods Leave Hundreds Homeless

Flood overtakes the entire Kpatawee Waterfall community in Bong County

…. As the Red Cross pleads for Assistance to deliver urgent Humanitarian support to Victim

Heavy rainfall and devastating flooding have affected hundreds of people across the country, upending livelihoods, displacing hundreds from their homes, and decimating hundreds of hectares of farms in rural communities.

Communities such as Kru Town in Robertsport City, Grand Cape Mount County, Kpatawee, Rubber Factory, Civil Compound, and Brooklyn communities in Bong County, and others in Nimba, and Margibi Counties, have been severely impacted by the floods.

Several communities in Montserrado County, including Red Hill, Crabhole, Doe Communities on Bushrod Island, and Old Road in Sinkor, are also severely impacted.

This climate-related disaster is a repeat of the worst flooding cases that have been happening across the country in recent years. Many experts believe that the level of flooding that the country has experienced in recent years is climate change-induced. The country is being impacted by coastal erosion and a rise in the level of the sea.

One of the highlights of the flood disaster is the Kpatawee Waterfall, the nation’s foremost tourist attraction, which has been buried by the floods.

The floods highlight the urgent need to help communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis adapt, expand solutions that address loss and damage incurred during climate-related disasters, and invest in climate action in fragile contexts.

These floods act as a misery multiplier and are the final straw for communities already struggling to survive. The National Disaster Management Agency is warning Liberians to brace themselves as the situation could worsen. The agency's Weather bug predicts continued heavy rainfall throughout September 2023.

“The situation has been extremely devastating" a Liberia National Red Cross statement, which quotes its initial assessment report, said. “The heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding have caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure, displacing residents and leaving them in urgent need of support.” 

Some victims of the recent flood seek refuge in a mosque

Liberia is one of the countries that experienced widespread flooding during the rainy season.

A short-term meteorological forecast released by the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) and partners showed above-average seasonal rainfall across the country with a risk of flooding affecting people and further driving up humanitarian needs.

The EPA in July issued a stern warning to residents of Monrovia and its environs regarding heavy rainfalls that are expected to cause flooding in various parts of the country—urging residents to take immediate precautionary measures to safeguard their lives and properties during this critical weather event.

The EPA said its primary concern is safeguarding public health and the environment. With the imminent threat of flooding, the agency says it is imperative that all residents of Liberia act responsibly and collectively to mitigate potential risks.

“You have to stay informed, and updated with the latest weather forecasts, advisories, and emergency warnings to remain aware of the changing conditions,” the statement warned. “Refrain from walking or driving through flooded areas, especially during heavy rainfalls. Seek higher ground if you encounter rising water levels.”

However, in response to the floods that are taking over communities across the country, the Red Cross is soliciting assistance to provide urgent emergency assistance packages to targeted flood-hit women, men, and children in critically affected areas.

The nation’s premier humanitarian organization on Monday launched a U$20,000 fund drive to rescue flood-affected communities in Monrovia, its environs, and other parts of the country.  

According to LNRCS, the fund drive is a local plea to help areas that have been severely damaged by the onslaught of rain. 

“There are humanitarian needs and we provide vital assistance to communities affected by the recent flooding,” the group said.

According to LNRCS, to address the urgent needs of the affected communities, the LNRCS is appealing to individuals, organizations, businesses, government entities, and foreign partners to contribute to the emergency appeal fund that would be used to secure food and non-food items for those in urgent need.

“The situation is expected to worsen as the National Disaster Management Agency's Weather bug predicts continued heavy rainfall throughout September 2023. Therefore, it is crucial to mobilize support and donations to aid the affected communities,” the Red Cross said. “We need to also be prepared to help those who may come to us in the days ahead.”

“The LNRCS, a vital pillar of hope and support for affected communities, is currently facing an insufficiency of resources to effectively sustain its humanitarian operations and address critical needs. The Liberian Red Cross is therefore calling for urgent support from all sectors to help these communities recover quickly and build resilience against future shocks.”

“The LNRCS recently highlighted the pressing humanitarian needs within communities that demand immediate action. Liberia faces various humanitarian challenges, including natural disasters, inadequate access to clean water, food insecurity, and heightened socioeconomic vulnerabilities.

 In commemoration of World Humanitarian Day, the LNRCS emphasized the significance of addressing these challenges through local action, resource mobilization, and collective participation.”