— At risk of disease they plead for assistance
Over 2,000 inhabitants in the remote village of Malagai in Zota District in Bong County are said to be suffering for safe drinking water.
Malangai is a small farming community situated just a stone’s throw the Liberian border with Guinea.
In an interview with the Daily Observer on Monday June 29, 2020 in the village, a prominent son of the town Victor Juah said the townspeople used the water for drinking, cooking, washing and other domestic use.
“As the rainy season is already here, I’m afraid the risk of diarrhea flaring particularly among the women and the children” Mr. Juah emphasized.
“Any diarrhea outbreak in this village would be a disaster, given the dysfunctional state in which many of our referral health-care centers have closed their doors to the public due to the COVID 19” Mr. Juah challenged.
It was established by this reporter that the only hand pump in the town is no longer working due to the lack of maintenance and spare parts.
Information gathered by this paper revealed that the lone hand pump was built by an international NGO “Mission to Liberia” in 2015 but got damaged in 2019 thereby compelling the residents to go back drinking from the pond.
Juah disclosed to this Newspaper that the townspeople will need the amount of US$200 (or L$ 40,000) to have the damaged hand pump repaired.
When quizzed why the townspeople cannot raise the money among the themselves and repair the hand pump, Mr. Juah, added, the people here are subsistence farmers, where do you expect them to raise US$200 to mend hand pump when they are confronted with other grave issues like health.
“In many rural communities, our people still build houses without provision for toilets, or as the case may be, latrines where waste can be emptied without others coming in contact with it. As the rain is already here, you will realize that both human and domestic animal feces dumped in the pond and we drink it,” Juah furthered. “If you walk around the town, you’ll be greeted with the reek of urine simply because the houses do not have toilets or bathrooms.”
Juah then used the occasion to appeal to humanitarian organizations that are in the business of water and sanitation to help the Malangai residents to repair the only hand pump in the town.
He said if the hand pump is reconditioned and safe drinking water is restore to the people, it would help to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases among the local inhabitants.