WMA School, Wellington, Eastend Freetown, 29th August 2023 – Concern Worldwide, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and the Freetown City Council (FCC) has launched the construction of an additional 143-meter-long drainage at Water Street in Wellington. This is in addition to the 155-meter drainage constructed in mid-2022 with technical support from the NDMA on the same Water Street.
Last year, a thorough assessment was done by the Directorate of Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness of the NDMA within the Wellington Community which is prone to floods. The assessment report indicated that the lack of drainage on Water Street was the major cause of flooding that is affecting hundreds of households yearly. The report also recommended that the only viable solution to this sticky situation was the construction of a drainage infrastructure that would contain the water coming from the hills.
The report was later shared with Concern Worldwide through its Head of Disaster Response and Mitigation, Jusufu Conte. It was later communicated that Concern Worldwide is committed to constructing the drainage through their Chief Executive Officer’s fund. Joint visits were made by both the NDMA and Concern Worldwide to the scene and later a contract was awarded for the construction of a 155-meter-long drainage costing EUROS 100,000.
Internal reports indicate that after the construction of the drainage last year, the negative impact of floods on residents uphill was reduced greatly. However, those residing downward were still being affected because the drainage did not cover the entire street.
After persistent complaints by those residing downward, the NDMA reached out to Concern Worldwide again with a fresh request and evidence of the affected population justifying the need to construct the remaining 143 meters of the drainage. Concern Worldwide for the second time responded in the affirmative – communicated their approval for the construction of the remaining 143 meters of the drainage which will cost around EUROS 85,000.
The Head of Disaster Response and Mitigation, Concern Worldwide, Jusufu Conteh said he was happy that his organization approved the funds to complete the construction of the Water Street drainage. He said their experience with residents, especially the youth during the first phase of implementation was not pleasant. He pointed out that materials were being stolen and residents defecating in plastic bags and throwing them in the drainage. He appealed to the community leaders to play their part in ensuring the safety of the materials and the protection of the drainage.
Director of Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Thomas Lebbie while making his statement said he was not happy – citing the improper use of the drainage that has been constructed already. He said there are over fifty communities that have similar challenges and need urgent attention. He noted that the NDMA and Concern Worldwide chose Water Street due to the severe impact the floods are having on residents. He concluded by advising the chiefs and residents to provide leadership in taking care of the facility and stop throwing dirt and human feces into the drainage.
The Deputy Director General of the NDMA, John Vandy Rogers in his statement said that the NDMA has a responsibility to protect residents and their properties. He recounted past disasters that have overwhelmed the agency and communities, and admonished the community stakeholders to protect these critical infrastructures Government through donor partners is constructing within their communities. He further acknowledged the amazing role Concern Worldwide has been playing in disaster mitigation in prone communities.
“This is not the first time Concern Worldwide has constructed drainages to prevent floods in prone communities. They have done so at New England Ville and the Culvert Communities thereby preventing and/or minimizing the impact of floods on the lives of the population in those communities. The NDMA shall continue to partner with Concern Worldwide for future interventions.” He concluded.
Councilor Lamin Kamara, on behalf of his people, thanked the NDMA, FCC, and Concern Worldwide for all they have done to complete the construction of their drainage. He said last year, due to the drainage that was constructed, flooding did not affect them as it used to in previous years. He went on to say that with the remaining drainage constructed, it will drastically reduce floods and ensure the safety of his people during the rains. However, he appealed for the provision of tricycles to properly manage their waste.
The contract was awarded to Associates Investment Construction Company for the second time and it’s expected to complete work by October.