By State House Communications Unit
President Ernest Bai Koroma has on Thursday September 17, 2015 made a spot check to flood affected communities to get first hand assessment of the effects of the flooding in Freetown. President Koroma started his spot visit to the affected scenes at the Orogu Bridge in Grafton village in the Western Rural District. He also visited such areas as Akram Culvert, Bai Bureh Road, PCMH, Ola During Hospitals, Kroo Bay, Congo Cross Bridge, Aberdeen Creek, Congo Town and Dwarzack Farm all in the West Urban District.
During the spot checks, the President urged government response teams and development partners to sustain the effective response measures that have been demonstrated so far.
On arrival at the Flood Response Control and Command Centre at the Siaka Stevens Stadium, President Koroma said he was encouraged by the relief support already given to the victims. The President also commended the responders for the establishment of the Centre and added that lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak could be used to step up response to alleviate the tragedy brought about by the devastating flood. The Command Centre has six priorities – Health, Food and Water, Communications, Security, Registration and WASH activities. The flood affected eight communities, 154 families and so far the response teams are feeding Four Thousand Three Hundred (4300) people residing at the stadium.
Addressing the affected persons at the Siaka Steven Stadium, President Koroma stated that the present situation is unfortunate and that government is very concerned about its effects on the people. He emphasized that government will relocate the affected families to a better and safer environment.
“We want to take you to a safer place where your lives will not be endangered, a place where flooding or rolling stones will not be a threat to your life and safety,” he said. The affected people applauded the President for the reassuring message.
President Koroma pointed out that government is identifying areas that could be used to put up structures for the affected families. The disaster, he said, has further convinced “our people to cooperate with their relocation from disaster prone areas.” He however cautioned against resistance when the exercise starts soon adding that government wants the best for them.
Meanwhile, the president has urged all responders to expedite their efforts in guaranteeing the displaced people better accommodation and to quickly develop the other emergency centres. He has also reminded everyone that Ebola is not yet over and that the Ebola protocols and medical regulations must be maintained.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation Madam Madina Rahman said that pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five are receiving support and care from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Social Welfare Minister, Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai informed that the affected people are receiving three square meals a day and have provided six hundred bags of rice, water and other necessities.
Prior to the arrival of the president, the First Lady of the Republic, Madam Sia Nyama Koroma donated One Hundred Bags of rice and a cash sum of two Million Leones (Le 2,000,000) to cater for the welfare of the flood victims. The Sierra Leone Red Cross, Focus 1000, Plan International among others formed part of the response and support organizations.
The Vice President, cabinet ministers, senior government officials all formed part of the visiting team to the affected areas and victims of the flood tragedy.