Following several incidences of flooding across the country and especially those in urban areas, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) through its Directorate of Risk Reduction & Preparedness, with support from partners embarked on cleaning some major drainages/waterways from the 29th of September – 2nd October 2022 and improving on drainage infrastructure to prevent flooding in flood-prone communities within Freetown.
The team started with Water Street, Wellington in the East End of Freetown, where a major waterway that usually gets flooded within the community was cleared. During the August 28th floods in Freetown, Water Street was amongst the hardest hit. It’s against this backdrop the NDMA has been able to facilitate the construction of an improved drainage system of about 68.2 meters long in the community through Concern Worldwide. This activity will commence immediately after the drainage is cleared of debris.
Before the cleaning exercise, the NDMA and Concern Worldwide held a community engagement where community leaders, religious leaders, tribal heads and other important stakeholders were engaged in mitigation efforts to reduce the potential damage and suffering that disasters can cause in Wellington.
Amongst the notable partners that have contributed to the flood mitigation exercise, UNICEF Sierra Leone had earlier donated cleaning tools such as shovels, hand gloves, wheelbarrows, and pickaxes worth $30,000 (Thirty Thousand United States Dollars) and also supported the NDMA to undertake engagement of community stakeholders in 20 risk-prone communities.
The Director of Risk Reduction & Preparedness, Thomas Lebbie, said the NDMA has been engaging government institutions, communities and development partners to permanently solve some of the challenges hovering around drainage infrastructure across the city. “We understand that this is a huge task it requires a long-term investment into such interventions, but we are optimistic that by improving these poor drainage infrastructures we will reduce the level of exposure and vulnerabilities in many communities.” He said
He continued: “We have also embarked on risk communication activities, focusing on a multi-tier approach. These include engaging stakeholders, journalists and social media bloggers. The focus is to enhance gradual change in behaviour in handling household wastes.”
The NDMA will continue its flood mitigation exercises, especially the clearing of drainages in other communities, in the coming weeks. The Agency will also continue to engage partners to solicit the required support in addressing identified hazards within prone communities, thereby reducing their vulnerabilities.