By Joseph S. Margai, Strategic Communications Coordinator (Office of the President)
SLRA's Director General-Engineer Amara Kanneh and officials at the high table
Consultants from AMC & Associates, Bowling International and Planning Green Futures, have on Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, presented the "Storm water Drainage Master Plan for the Municipality of Freetown", to officials of the Ministry of Works and Public Assets and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA).
The presentation of the drainage master plan, which was done at SLRA's office in Kissy, Eastern Freetown, brought together officials from the Freetown City Council, Environment Protection Agency, Road Maintenance Fund Administration, engineers, civil society, among others.
FMC's Dr. Sayedul H. Choudhury, said there are two types of flooding that normally occurs in Freetown, citing street flooding and catastrophic flooding.
He noted that when street flooding occurs there are small overflowing, frequency channels, local ponding, but with catastrophic flooding, there is a significant frequent flooding that destroys homes, lives, etc.
"During the survey for the storm water drainage master plan, 600 interviews were conducted and 477 sites within Freetown were surveyed," he said.
He said rainfalls are increasing but if flooding is to be prevented, deforestation must also stop.
He suggested that solutions to the two above mentioned flooding include relocation from flood plains, government to prioritise improving legislation, management of drainage infrastructure, river catchment management, etc.
Engineer Amara Kanneh, SLRA's Director General, said the master plan is very important because flooding has become a serious problem for every Sierra Leonean.
He added that when flooding occurs, those in the road sector would be greatly affected.
"The drainage master plan would help us to find a lasting solution to disaster. Government has now introduced a monthly cleaning exercise and that would help to clear drainages as well," he said.
Minister of Works and Public Assets, Peter Bayoku Conteh, said the "Storm water Drainage Master Plan for the Municipality of Freetown" would help Sierra Leoneans to entirely change their negative ways towards the environment.
"We now have a government that is very serious to improve the infrastructure set up of the country, and engineers are taken very crucial in this regard. Our government is taking disaster mitigation seriously, especially now that we are in the rains," he said.
He called on all Sierra Leoneans to abstain from pouring their sewages in drainages so as to curb flood disaster.
He said President Bio and his Vice President have good plans for the country and their plans have been already visible through the reforms that are taking place in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).