Mortormeh, Freetown, August 18, 2022 — Following a report received by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) from the Chiefs of Motormeh community complaining about a strange crack within their compounds, the NDMA dispatched a team headed by its Deputy Director General, John Vandi Rogers and the Director of Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness Thomas Lebbie to visit the scene and verify the report.
Upon arrival at the scene, the NDMA was briefed by the tribal heads of the community and taken on a conducted tour and found out that there are true cracks a few meters from the red zone cut-off point. This area is directly opposite where the August 14th 2017 landslide disaster occurred.
At the scene, NDMA’s Deputy Director-General stated that they were there to respond to the report of cracks within the Motormeh community by the chiefs. He noted that the NDMA was concerned taken the devastating effect of the August 14th 2017 landslide disaster that claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed significant properties.
During the engagement, Chief Alimamy Bubu Conteh said he had observed a thread-like crack inside his compound and closely monitored it intermittently. He later noticed that the diameter of the crack was expanding which urged him to further look around the neighbourhood. He realized that the cracks have run through from one point of his compound to another compound destroying recently constructed foundations and pillars. He then alerted his colleague tribal chief who confirmed that part of his house had several cracks as well.
While making his statement, Director Lebbie noted that the report was brought to his attention by chiefs of the Community. “I got a report from the Chiefs at Mortormeh that there are cracks within the area where the landslide occurred. This is why we have come on behalf of the Government to assess the entire area and consult relevant stakeholders within the environment sector and determine the next steps.” He said.
Director Lebbie also pointed out that the entire affected community will take many years to regain stability and there is a high risk of another major disaster within the Motormeh community due to ill-informed human activities like construction, deforestation and stone mining.
“Should any disaster occur, here again, the whole world will blame us because we are supposed to learn from our past experience. This is why we will take the necessary actions, coordinate the relevant authorities, engage the appropriate stakeholders and mobilize the needed resources to prevent, protect and save lives and properties. This is why I want to thank the chiefs for identifying the early warning signs and reporting them to us. ” He added.
The National Disaster Management Agency in collaboration with other Agencies commemorated the 5th anniversary of the August 14th 2017 landslide disaster through an interfaith service held at the Saint Paul’s Seminary Church Regent.
The disaster affected an estimated 6,000 people, of which 1,141 were declared dead or missing and more than 3,000 people were displaced.
It also caused major destructions in infrastructure, buildings, bridges, schools, and health facilities in the Regent, Malama/Kamayama, Juba/Kaningo, and Lumley communities.
It was estimated that the total economic value of the effects of the landslide and floods was USD 31.65 million (SLL 237 billion).
Chief Lansana, another Chief within the community disclosed that the August 14, 2017 Mudslide occurred right under their watch. He said after the Mudslide, the environment was demarcated into three zones.
“Government demarcated the environment into Green, Yellow and Red Zones. Those within the Red Zones were relocated. As a chief, I have a responsibility to monitor, protect and report any activity within the Red Zone.” He explained.
The National Disaster Management Agency is urging all those living around the Mortehmeh community to report all forms of strange tremors and/or cracks noticed around their houses and compounds.
The NDMA is also encouraging citizens within the affected vicinity to voluntarily relocate to safer grounds while calling on environmentalists, engineers, NGOs and INGOs, GIS and geoscientist institutions to support the NDMA in investigation and assessment.
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Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency