Widespread and acute water shortages continue to affect the densely populated districts of Foya and Kolahun in Lofa County. Residents in the two districts on March 28, 2019, told the Daily Observer that since the dry season started sometime last year, most of the hand pumps constructed by aid agencies in the early 1990s have run dry having outlived their usefulness.
"We have sought for safe drinking water in old, abandoned wells, small ponds and streams in efforts to relieve stress caused by the lack of access to safe drinking water," Francis Nyumah Tamba said.
In separate tour of Kolba and Airfield cities, it was observed that most of the hand pumps, wells and rivers were completely dried owing to the intensity of the dry season.
Water and Sanitation experts say due to current population growth, both cities in Lofa now require pipe borne water to prevent sickness and disease caused by water borne pathogens. Residents of the area, it was recently observed, wake up as early as 4:30 a.m. to fetch safe drinking water from the dilapidated hand pumps, wells, ponds and streams.
For example, on March 30, 2019, hundreds of Kolba City residents were seen in long lines at some of the old and dilapidated hand pumps, and open wells in search of safe drinking water. At one of the dilapidated hand pumps in Kolba City, Kolahun District, cook-shop operator Madam Helen B. Kolliewala angrily declared that her city has all what it takes to benefit from pipe-borne water.
An abandoned hand-pump at the Child Development Institute elementary school, Foya City, Lofa County
"We are really suffering for safe drinking water in Kolba City, especially during this long dry season, and I want for our government to take steps to address the water shortages in the rural areas of our country," Madam Kolliewala pleaded.
In Foya City, residents said that the government should make concrete commitment to provide pipe-borne water to rural communities.
Austin Kondoh Sando Paylay, a teacher in the district, pointed out that almost of all of the schools in Kolba City do not have a single hand-pump, a situation which has worsened the water and sanitation crisis faced by schools in Kolahun District.
Paylay also stressed the need for the Ministry of Education (MoE) and other education stakeholders to consider the provision of safe drinking water to the school system as promotion of health and sanitation of teachers and the students.