26 June 2019

Liberia: Floods Overtake Several Communities

Two nights of torrential rains on Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, 2019, flooded at least 500 homes and business centers in communities in Montserrado County District #5, and forced residents to seek shelter elsewhere in the neighborhood, while others took their landlords to the police station in demand of compensation for their losses.

Some residents in the affected communities informed the Daily Observer that they had spent the entire Friday night bailing out water seeping into their homes from below ground amid the heavy and continuous down pour of rain that lasted through Saturday morning. Later during the day, according to some affected community members, the rain ceased and many saw this as a relief to their families. But, to their surprise, at 2:00 a.m. water again flooded their homes, forcing them out and leaving them homeless with several possessions lost or damaged by flood waters.

Nancy Harmon, a 60-year-old woman, who claimed to have lived in the community for over 20 years, said they had never previously experienced such a situation until the construction of the road that links Zayzay community to the Goba-Chop market. According to her, rather than constructing a bridge, the builders allegedly used culverts, which are now all damaged and blocked and is causing rain water to run back into the community because there is no free passage.

Madam Harmon said shortly after the water entered her home, "I felt bad and cried the whole night", but according to her, she was unfortunately taken to the police station by two of her tenants requesting her to repay their remaining L$25,000."

"At the police station, I wrote a promissory to pay the money within three months, when I do not even have the means of getting said amount; the rent that was paid to me was used to renovate the house," she said.

"Water has been coming in our yard and going, "Madam Harmon said, "but for it to enter our house and destroy our belongings is shocking."

Madam Harmon called on the government and other humanitarian institutions to come to their aid with cement and other items to improve their homes and open the drainage, particularly in view of the fact that they are already homeless while heavier rains have yet to come.

Weedor Kpoto, the community chairlady, said she and her family have lived in the neighborhood since 1987 and they had never experienced such flooding until two years ago. She said the leadership of the community usually collects money to open the drainage to allow the free passage of water, but from the look of things, this year it will be very difficult to control the water. Chairlady Kpoto said it is important for the government to reconstruct the bridge to give free passage to the water to save the community.

Daniel Choloplay, Co-chairman of the community, said their living condition is 'deplorable' and needs speedy intervention from the community. Choloplay said he had lived in the community since 1989, but the constant flood every rainy season remains an embarrassing open secret.

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