Monday August fourteen was considered a sad day in the history of Sierra Leone where a mudslide hit the mountainous region of the Capital; Freetown, which resulted in many deaths.
Flooding has been an expected issue in the country as every rainy season, thousands of inhabitants in Freetown are made homeless. But this year’s disaster made the government of Sierra Leone to be dumb-founded due to the number of death and destructions caused by the flood and mudslide, which gave no earlier warning. The actual report of death reported is still in contention as many people are believed to have been trapped under the rubbles. Hours after the tragedy, condolence messages started pouring from around the world in solidarity. The President of Liberia Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a press release on Tuesday also added her voice on that of other nations on behalf of the people of Liberia in consoling Sierra Leoneans in this trying time. It is worthy to note that the President of the Republic of Guinea Alpha Conde was the first foreign leader to visit the country where he donated the sum of $100,000 USD and 50 tons of bags of rice. President Conde’s visit to Sierra Leone was not unique because of the donation, but his presence at the disaster site meant a lot in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries. While the condolence message from the Liberia leader is timely, it would have been better for her presence to be felt. We have spent and continue to spend millions of the United States dollar in protecting the environment, but it is hard to feel the impact of those spendings. This medium believes that if President Sirleaf would have visited and seen the aftermath based on firsthand account, the better it would have been for us to take the fight in protecting our environment serious. A disaster in Sierra Leone is a disaster for the Mano River Union. Liberia and Sierra Leone have gone beyond the notion of neighborhood as both countries have experienced spill-over effects in almost everything; ranging from war, Ebola etc. The unforeseen tragedy has many lessons which will go a long way to enable us prepare ahead of time should the need arise. It is high time we start to give credence to emerging revelations from this disaster as our environment is seriously under threat. Our beaches are being eroded every day, and we continue to remain reticent until something catastrophic happens. Mano River Union countries should be seen on the front in addressing regional issues rather than complementing.