Monrovia – In the wake of the recent massive mudslides that resulted to the deaths of over 400 people in the Freetown suburb of Regent in Sierra Leone, former Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Dr. Eugene Shannon, is urging Liberians to take heed and institute measures to prevent natural disasters.
On August 14, devastating floods and mudslides occurred in the early morning hours in Regent near the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown after three days of torrential rainfall.
While the exact number of deaths is not yet known, officials have put the death rate so far at 400, while thousands of others are missing and feared dead.
More than 3,000 people have been rendered homeless and hundreds of buildings damaged or destroyed by the mudslides.
The disaster which occurred during the rainy season was exacerbated by the city's situation at or below sea level, poor infrastructure, and poor drainage system, reports indicated.
As a close door neighbor to Sierra Leone, Liberia could face similar natural disaster as the country contains geological features in several regions including the capital Monrovia, where people have established settlements below sea level, on and beneath hill tops containing loose soils and poor vegetation.
Dr, Shannon who made the call on State Radio Thursday, is of the opinion that these settlements are prone to disasters similar to what occurred in neighboring Sierra Leone, and cautioned that people inhabiting these areas should either be evacuated or put into place mitigating measures to prevent such disaster.
Dr. Shannon named the planting of vegetation, evacuation from vulnerable areas, discouraging sand mining and the dumping of garbage in drainage and waterways, among others, as measures that can help safeguard the environment against natural disasters such as mudslides and flooding.
Dr. Shannon, who is a professor of Geological and Environmental Science, also alluded to Liberia's voluminous and torrential rainfall as another factor that could give rise to mudslides, especially in high-risk areas.
It can be recalled that on October 6, 1982 torrential rain soaked a huge heap of loosed Iron Ore which resulted in a landslide that fell on residents of the mining town of No-Way Camp in Grand Cape Mount County.
The disaster claimed the lives of at least 200 poor miners and injured hundreds. Up to now, the incident is officially known to many Liberians as the "No-Way Camp Disaster."