West Point Township Commissioner Miatta H. Flowers has expressed fears over the eventual cholera epidemic the township would face after the abrupt end of the Liberia Maritime Authority Beaches and Waterways Project.
In an interview with the Daily Observer Sunday, December 22, Commissioner Flowers said since the project was recently halted there have been a series of reports reaching her office indicating that many residents have reverted to unhygienic practices such as littering and defecating on the West Point beach.
“The LMA Beaches and Waterways Project made sure that there was organized security that patrolled the beach every night to ensure that unscrupulous people don’t mess up the beach,” Commissioner Flowers said.
She said since the end of the project the beach is no longer protected and with the congestion in the township, the likelihood of a cholera epidemic may not be too far away.
“A cholera breakout would cause more suffering, so it is highly necessary for the government to help us before it is too late,” she said.
Commissioner Flowers explained, “For the last three years, we have not experienced any threat from cholera, but now my office is worried that if the nearly 550 people now jobless are not returned to their former duties of protecting the beach, we may regress back to where we were before the project.”
“I am appealing to the Government of Liberia to reconsider its decision, taking into account the reasons I have raised concerns about, and try to seek funds to continue the project,” she said.
She also took time to express appreciation for the LMA Beaches and Waterways Project, which she said ensured that jobless residents in her township were able to help themselves, despite the harsh economy.
The LMA recently announced the end of the Beaches and Waterways Project due to financial constraints. The project benefitted nearly 1,985 casual laborers in several slum communities, including West Point, New Kru Town, Popo Beach, and ELWA.
At the time of the announcement, the LMA owed three months in arrears, which it settled last Monday.
West Point is one of the largest slum communities in Monrovia. Most of its residents use the Mesurado River and the beautiful beach along the Atlantic Ocean to defecate. Residents live in very poor and unhygienic condition, leaving them expose to water-borne disease and malaria.
Many of the township’s children play along the beach barefooted.