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Freetown, 21st August 2023 – A team from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) over the weekend embarked on vulnerability risk assessments in various disaster-prone communities in Freetown to ascertain the impact of NDMA’s risk reduction interventions and identify high-risk hazards for action.

The team which comprised both Directors of Risk Reduction & Preparedness and Relief & Response visited Amadu Lane at Lumley, Levuma Beach, Culvert Community, Grafton, and Water Street in Wellington.

At the Culvert Community, the team assessed a long retaining wall of the Colombia Davies Funeral Parlor which community members had complained about. The team observed some cracks in the wall thereby posing a high risk to residents living underneath. The residents were engaged and advised to keep their distance to prevent any loss of life should there be a collapse.

The team also undertook assessments at Amadu Lane, Grafton, and Levuma Beach where the construction of houses on wetlands and waterways was recorded as a major cause of the constant flooding in these communities during the rains. However, the impact on the affected population has been very minimal due to sustained interventions by the NDMA.

The team ended their assessment tour at Water Street Wellington where Concern Worldwide, in collaboration with the NDMA had constructed a 143-meter-long drainage preventing the consistent flooding residents were exposed to every rainy season.

While explaining to journalists the significant impact of the drainage, the Director of Disaster Risk Reduction & Preparedness, Thomas Lebbie stated that since the drainage was constructed, it has reduced the impact of flooding in the entire community. He further mentioned that Concerned Worldwide has received additional funding for the construction of another 130 meters extension on the same drainage. He said this will significantly boost water control during the rains and ensure the safety of homes.

The Director of Relief and Response, Sinneh Mansaray noted that there is the misconception that the NDMA only shows up after the occurrence of a disaster to provide relief items to victims. He clarified that the NDMA has been constantly engaging communities with risk reduction and preventive strategies that have helped prone communities record less impact of floods and other incidents. He added that when disasters are prevented, people don’t get to know about them even when the NDMA has been reporting its activities for public consumption.

Whilst acknowledging the interventions of the NDMA at Culvert Community, Section Chief, Ya Alimmay Thoronka M’maka pointed out that this rainy season, the impact of flooding on their community has been very minimal due to the constant adaptation interventions of the NDMA. She further acknowledged the crucial role played by Mohamed Gento Kamara, who has provided consistent support in clearing the main drainage in their community.

The NDMA has scheduled an important meeting with the management of Columbia Davies Funeral Parlor and other crucial sector players later this week to discuss the findings and recommendations of the field assessment report for prompt action.

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