East End, Freetown, Wednesday, 31 August 2022 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has visited the Looking Town and Culvert communities east of the capital, Freetown, to console families who lost six of their loved ones to the flash floods and mudslide of 28 August 2022.
“Let us be consoled by the grace of God. I am expressing my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and the entire Looking Town and Culvert communities because what happened was not limited to the bereaved families. It affected your communities and the nation as a whole.
“The fact that, as a community, we have confirmed that our youths were very active in mobilizing themselves to ensure the situation was salvaged,” he said, adding that those were the kinds of laudable efforts his government had always advocated for in the country because they showed that they were a family.
“I am also here to assure you that, despite your current situation, we are a family as a nation. My government has prioritised human capital development, which aims at putting people at the centre of our development trajectory. Therefore, as a government, anything that affects the people, we will try very hard to address it,” he assured.
The President said uncontrolled and unregulated human activities in the environment were the root cause of the flash floods that had led to the loss of lives and destruction of properties. He added that based on the fact that there were identified disaster-prone areas in Freetown and other parts of the country, his government had established the National Disaster Management Agency, NDMA, to look into mitigating occurrences of disasters.
“Even though there was no recorded death in the Culvert community, I have decided to visit there because they were also affected by floods. We have sent the NDMA to register all affected people so that the government and its partners will be guided to take an informed decision on supporting affected communities,” he assured and pleaded with every citizen to join hands in taking care of the environment.
President Bio reminded youths of the importance of peace, democracy, and national cohesion, and that they had every reason to ensure that peace was maintained.
“This is the second time God has allowed me to rule this country. I am the President for everyone, both those who voted and those who did not. I am the President of the insurgents as well. Until I hand over, I will do everything to protect them all,” he assured.
He called on parents to engage their children to be peaceful, noting that: “I am not that politician who will give a drug to our youth or encourage them to take drugs. I will not give you money or rum to fight politically for me. We fought for peace, and we have peace. So, let’s maintain that peace in our nation”.
Director of the disaster agency, Lieutenant General (Rtd.) Brima Bureh Sesay, said 18 communities were affected by the floods, which led to the deaths of 6 people, including 5 from a single family, adding that they had now recorded a total of 8 fatalities in the aftermath of the flooding.
The chief of the Culvert Community, Ya Alimamy Thoronka, thanked President Bio for visiting the affected communities, stating: “Don’t forget us in this community. If one hundred people hated you, rest assured that two hundred more people will continue to love you. You can give birth to children, but you may not be able to love all of them equally. Even though some people don’t like you, you are the President of the nation”.