Hundreds Rendered Homeless, Stranded in Affected Areas
Severe flooding caused by heavy downpour of torrential rains over the weekend, have left several persons homeless and on Tuesday brought pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the Tubman Boulevard-Congo Town roadway to a virtual halt. The rains have created a host of problems for residents of Monrovia, Paynesville, Duala and other flood prone communities which have suffered severe flooding as a result of torrential downpours over the last two days. In Sinkor, near the Airfield-Old Road junction, traffic came to a virtual halt as flood waters inundated the roadway and made passage very challenging.
In the Fish Market several homes were, in addition to floods, threatened by an angry Atlantic Ocean which swept away portions of buildings situated near the beach. Occupants of those structures were seen making frantic efforts to save whatever remained of their belongings and homes some of which are now perched on a narrow strip of beach.
It is just a matter of time now before these buildings are swallowed by the sea, according to an affected resident.
Many affected residents this newspaper spoke to seemed to agree that the flooding problem is caused by poor drainage and the erection of buildings and other structures in wetlands and low lying areas which impede the free flow of water.
Flooding in Monrovia and outlying areas is a recurring problem and is one about which local authorities appear helpless to do anything about. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued repeated warnings to the public to refrain from erecting structures in waterways and wetlands but from all indications such warnings have had little effect.
It can be recalled that a few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demolished some houses and placed a halt to the construction of roads in wetlands in and around Monrovia and Paynesville. The EPA Deputy Executive Director Randall M. Dobayou told the Daily Observer Tuesday that his entity would warn and caution the public against the illegal erection of unauthorized structures in wetlands.
“We will not hesitate to break down any structures being constructed in wetlands and other restricted areas anywhere in our country once such are in violation of environmental laws and regulations,” Director Dobayou warned.
Meanwhile, commuters were on Tuesday morning constrained to wait for several hours as flood waters engulfed the roadway, making passage by vehicle or by foot virtually impossible due to the raging waters pouring over the Tubman Boulevard passageway.
On Monday and Tuesday mornings, commuters were stuck in traffic for several hours as flood water overwhelmed the Sinkor Old Road junction on the Tubman Boulevard in Monrovia. By Tuesday, the flood in the area had gotten so intense that only jeeps 4×4 utility vehicles could pass. Passage by foot was virtually impossible and smaller vehicles could not get through without breaking down.
The Old Road Junction is surrounded on three sides by swamp, parts of which now have structures of one kind or another. On the north-east corner of the junction is a car wash. Next to the car wash is a portion of the swamp fenced-in plot that has been filled in with gravel for construction. On the south side of the junction, the swamp continues, and people have made good use of the swamp to grow rice, corn and other crops. But the filling in of the swamp for construction of the car wash, a night club and another upcoming project, residents in the area say, could be the prime reason for the junction being flooded at such unprecedented level.
In related developments, latest reports gathered from the Bernard Farm Community say following the second day of torrential downpours, heavy flooding has left residents homeless, having been forced to evacuate their homes. Residents say in some areas the flood waters were nearly chest-high; but fortunately, according to residents, no casualties were recorded as a result of the flooding. Early Tuesday morning local rescue teams were seen carrying stranded women and children in makeshift rafts to elevated dry grounds at Bernard Farm and its immediate environs.
Bernard Farm community, located in Montserrado District #4, is home to approximately 7,000 residents scattered around the. The entire District #4, which stretches southward to Duport Road community, claims over 63,000 registered voters, according to statistical data from the National Elections Commission.
At the former Voice of America OMEGA navigation station in Paynesville, several houses built in flood plains were also submerged including portions of the newly constructed market building.
In the Duala commercial district, several parts of the market area were also submerged in flood water on Tuesday morning, which brought business activities to a standstill.
Severe flooding was also reported in the Zayzay community and Zubah Town areas in Paynesville. In central Monrovia, Buzzi Quarters, Soniwehn and Newport, Randall, Carey, Gurley, Lynch and Center streets were all affected by flooding. Reports say areas lying behind the JFK Hospital also suffered the effects of severe flooding.
Hannah Geterminah, Anthony Kokoi and George A. Harris contributed to this story.