Thirty five thousand (35,000) Liberians in a Peace Island community known as 540 (Five Forty) risk infectious diseases, because all the wells have dried up, leading them to process dirty water for food and other needs.
A tour of the community yesterday revealed an acute shortage of safe drinking water and community leaders are worried that unless the central government assists the community, there could be an imminent outbreak of disease.
“We cannot wait until what is unexpected becomes a reality for the government and partners would be rushing supplies to the community,” said Mr. Peter Korgar, an adviser to the community leadership. “We must begin to intervene right now.”
According to him, the community is home to about 35,000 people and is divided into eleven zones or compartments, where women and children sit by dried up wells hoping to get much needed water.
“Look at those over there on CAC road,” Korgar pointed out to our reporters, “they are waiting for water; and what they get is dirty water. We are afraid of what could happen here.”
Korgar said the situation started three days ago, that “Women can’t get safe drinking water to prepare food for their families and many of the people cannot afford to buy mineral water to prepare food for their families.”
He said the best scenario is for the Liberian government to immediately send a team to examine the situation with the view to prepare help. “We will be happy to have the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation come over here to provide us with water. We are Liberian citizens and we deserve such a service from our government,” he noted.
Korgar said the people would be glad if the government sends trucks of safe drinking water to alleviate the current suffering in the community.
“We (community leaders) have tried to get the people involved in doing things for themselves but they are so poor that it is difficult to tax a family L$100, which takes a family many months to raise,” he said.
He noted that because the residents are low income earners, the only thing they can do now is to appeal to the government and humanitarian agencies to rush to the community to provide help before it is too late.
“We are extremely worried about what could happen because our people are suffering,” he said, adding that due to poor sanitation services in the huge community, certain areas are used as toilet facilities, “and this is a cause for concern.”
He said if there is no immediate help, it would be difficult to be optimistic about the next few days, because the people would become more desperate for safe drinking water.
“That is why we are making this urgent appeal to prevent any outbreak of diseases that may be unhealthy for our community and our country,” he said.
The Peace Island (540) community is in Montserrado County District #10.