The final solution to the Township of West Point residents’ resettlement to the VOA community could be in sight if the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) annual budget is increased from less than US$1 million to US$3 million by the National Legislature.
According to Prince Anything Wreh, NHA Deputy Managing Director for Administration, with an annual budget of less than US$1million, and through the support from the NASSCORP and the Ministry of State, 1,700 erosion affected residents of the township have made voluntary commitments to be relocated.
The new location is VOA, near Brewerville, outside Monrovia, which over 240 residents from the township have already been resettled, and many more are expected to follow, Mr. Wreh said.
He told the Daily Observer during a tour of the NASSCORP Village and VOA Community by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday that the NHA wants to resettle the entire township, but that could happen only if the Legislature could increase NHA’s annual budget to more than US$2 million.
“At present, we are constructing in stages a total of 125 temporary zinc units for the estimated 1,700 township residents.
“With an increase in our budget allotment, we could build from 250 to 375 permanent units for the residents from the township of West Point,” Mr. Wreh said.
He explained that a typical West Point household includes more than five persons, suggesting that with US$3 million nearly 21,000 residents from the township could be relocated to their new homes.
However, with the current confusion in the Legislature over the recusal of Speaker Alex Tyler to resign his post, which has stalled progress of the National Budget hearings among many other pressing matters so far, many Liberians don’t think the situation at the township of West Point can claim any attention at the moment.
Mr. Wreh said the cost to build a temporary zinc unit at VOA Community is about US$3,000.
He said clinics and adequate hand pumps to serve the gradually expanding community are also necessary ventures to tackle.
In a meeting with the residents yesterday, President Sirleaf said the government is interested in their welfare and encouraged them to do what they can to improve on their living conditions.
She urged the residents, mostly women to engage in backyard gardening and promised to provide them with seedlings for that purpose.
A spokesman, Rev. Demore W. Moore, chairman of the Disaster Victims Association, said the community is happy for the level of support from the NHA and the Monrovia City Hall.
However, Rev. Moore wants the government to provide means to enable children to go to school as well as a clinic for the residents to seek medical attention.
The chairman of the Brewerville City Council, Soko D. Wiles, informed President Sirleaf of the need to provide support to those who are being resettled in the community.
He was, however, impressed with the interest President Sirleaf showed in visiting the community.
A former West Point resident said, “NHA may have the desire to help, but can a divided legislature provide the needed budgetary allotment to bring relief to our people in West Point?”
The President’s entourage included Monrovia City Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo, and NHA Managing Director Samuel Wlue.