Amid the daunting efforts underway to halt the spread of the novel Coronavirus in Liberia, Liberians across the country are finding themselves in smote by violent storm disasters. Many have been rendered homeless and saddled with unexpected expenses of repair or rebuilding of their homes and other structures.
Following a recent storm in Ganta, Nimba County, the affected residents, who spoke to the Daily Observer, described the incident as a serious setback, especially during this critical time.
“My wife is a traditional birth attendant (midwife) and the roof of her delivery house was taken away by the storm. All her working materials were left under the rain and are no longer useful,” said Oldman Nyan Johnny, a resident of LPRC Community in Ganta. “She is totally confused and we don’t know how we will recover under this lockdown condition,” he said.
A mother of 8 children was seen in tears by our reporter as she and her sons, who had recently managed to cover one side of their house, was deroofed by the storm.
“I can’t get over this because, to even find food for the kids under this lockdown period is not easy, and with this problem it makes it more difficult,” she said, recounting difficulties they experience during the lockdown period and added,, “Where do I get money from now to rehabilitate my house to make it conducive again for my family?”
Destructive storms have hit Ganta twice already since the evening of April 30. On May 2 there was another storm that broke down houses in the LPMC and Bo communities, including parts of Blagay Town. The rain storm also caused destruction in the Deakehmein and Valley communities, continuing to the Dorr Cooper Avenue.
On May 3 several home owners were seen re-roofing their damaged structures as a result of the storm.
A local resident says such destructive storms experienced in Ganta are an annual feature, due to the destruction of vegetation and failure of people to plant strong trees in the area.
Ganta is a city that is enlarging daily with people building new houses — many of them durable and modern — while others, built by low income earners, are substandard. As the city grows, the high vegetation that protected it from storm is cut down thus leaving the entire area opened and becoming prune to destruction by storm.
The land mass and hill behind the Ganta Methodist Mission included a thick forest. This forested area extended to the hill in the Bo Community and surroundings, but now it is being cut down and all the areas taken over by houses.
Experts say cutting down of the vegetation contributes to climate change that comes with heavy storm and irregularities in weather and climate of an area.
The edifice of the Faith Christian Ministries in Ganta was also hit by the storm, causing one side of the building to be deroofed.
Additionally, the Daily Observer has gathered that several villages across Nimba have been hit by storm.
The current trend of storm disaster in Ganta actually began in March of 2007 when several homes across Nimba were destroyed at different times. For Ganta, it happens every year, at the onset of the rainy season. Experts opine that homes and other structures are being destroyed because there are not as many trees or bushes as before to reduce the strength of the winds.
Meanwhile, the storm victims are appealing to the government and humanitarian organizations to come to their aid.