One of the cracked houses visited by NMDA at Bololo Community in Freetown
By Mohamed Amara Gando
The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on 15 August through its Directorates of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, visited Bololo Community (Back of Syke Street), to assess the magnitude of damage caused by a cracked building that was reported by NDMA community volunteers.
Speaking to journalists on a conducted tour to the scene, the Director of Risk reduction and Preparedness who doubled as Team Lead, Thomas Lebbie, said the cause of the crack was because of the fact that “Bololo” is a clustered community with no proper drainage system to enable free flow of water whenever it rains.
He also noted that the cracked house (almost collapsing) is situated on the top of a sloppy hill close to a very wide waterway that runs from Savage Street; and that because there is no proper drainage system in place, the water has been making way for itself beneath the house over time, which caused some erosions that forced the crack, which poses threat to life and property.
Director Lebbie concluded by appreciating the selfless services of NDMA’s community volunteers for always drawing NDMA’s attention to both natural and human hazards in their respective communities for appropriate action.
Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluations, Abu Bakarr Bangura, said they have assessed the house and given directives for immediate evacuation of all persons residing therein. “We have not only given directives for immediate evacuation, but we have also ensured that the affected persons comply with this directive,” he said.
According to the Communication Officer NMDA, Mohamed L. Bah, the Hazard and Risk Profile System (HARPIS) Sierra Leone and other prior risk assessments done in Freetown had identified 72 disaster risk zones. He said since the start of August, the Agency has received reports of 4 fire accidents, 3 slope and building collapses, and cracked boulders sitting dangerously near dwelling homes. The Agency has responded with community sensitization, drone imagery to assess risk and voluntary evacuation in some instances.
“Though there has been no loss of life,” he added, “due to the considerable loss of property and livelihoods, the Agency notes that negligent human actions are the main causes of these risks/hazards that can easily generate disasters.”
“The National Disaster Management Agency is advising citizens to act responsibly for the safety and security of their own lives and properties. The agency will continue working with these communities and other state and non-state actors to mitigate these risks and respond where disasters occur,” he explained.