West Point Sea Erosion Leaves Over 6000 Squatters Homeless
Monrovia – It is barely two months and victims of the Margibi County flood, who were displaced in school buildings and other places, are not finished settling in their homes, and yet another flood has struck West Point, leaving over 6000 inhabitants homeless.
Report by Mae Azango – [email protected]
According to Rev. Moore, West Point Disaster Victims Association Chairman, the recent flood started Saturday night to Sunday morning. He says areas where people gathered on the street of West Point and houses built in those areas the sea washed away over 125 of those houses.
Pointing to the broken street that was paved, Rev. Moore said: “The broken street you were standing on was just broken down a few minutes ago, before you arrived.
This is a serious threat to the new road just built by the government. At night, the ocean is not easy, because when the tide rises the water enters into people’s houses across the street.”
Rev. Samson, who spoke out of desperation at his office in West Point, said the political parties leaders and other senatorial aspirants should not leave the responsibility to the president alone, saying the people are the electorates and political leaders should come to their aid and not only wait to come for their votes.
“Nobody is coming to us now; even those running in our district are not coming to us. We are the electorates and the commoners who you are supposed to be representing, and people’s homes and belongings were washed away while they were selling in the market, and they do not even have food to eat, and we are not seeing them.
So this is the time for presidential aspirants to come in now, if they do not come now, we do not want to see them anymore. Even our children who are now 18 and above and are supposed to be voting and they are not in school, do you think they will vote for you when you do not see to it that they go to school?”
He further said over 200 persons out of the 6,000 people who asked to be relocated, have been relocated to the housing estate in the VOA Community, but insisted that the number is small comparing to the larger number. He is asking government to fast track the project, but according to him the government is saying the budget has not yet been passed.
“We agree that the budget has not yet passed but what will happen to the victims before the budget passes? Let the government show us the land put aside for us, so that we can work along with housing Authority as to how they want us to build the structures and we will build our own houses, because the people are getting more and we are afraid that others who are not affected, will start joining the victims to say they too were affected”, said Rev. Moore.
Speaking about their children being out of school while the parents are homeless, Rev. Moore said they are appealing to the Ministry of Education to allow their children go to school until the parents are resettled.
“Madam president even told us in VOA that she will talk to the Ministry of Education to allow our kids to be put in school until the relocation process is over because our kids are not in school while the parents do not have places to laid their heads, but the ministry has not gotten back to us yet about their decision”, he added.
The ocean wave slapped against a light pole that was nearly leaning against another pole with high tension wires, creating fear among citizens. But as if it was not enough trouble for the West pointers, the wave had just broken the paved road, hence preventing vehicles from passing.
The wave continued to slap against already broken structures, and people were seen gathering sticks, timber and zinc from the broken buildings and moving them to other places to erect some place to squat for the time being.
Monrovia City Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo, who rushed to the site on Sunday afternoon, said they went in to assess the situation but she was more concerned about the light pole that is about to fall that could cause another fire disaster.
“The citizens sleeping in darkness for a night, is not a problem, but if that pole falls on the other pole with the high tension wire, it could be far more dangerous, but I have called LEC to come right away and remove the pole”, the Mayor said.
Mayor Mvogo who said the West Point saga is nothing new said she has constantly warned the inhabitants to stop constructing on the beach, but they are not listening.
“I could foresee this by then, but nobody listened. I can tell you that where we are standing now and quarter of a mile from where we are was where the sea used to be, but now look at what happened over a year and a half, the sea, has finally come to the road. This will always happen because as long as the residents keep digging sand under the road to build, the problem will always be there”, she cautioned.
As to how long has she has been working along with the citizens in West point in getting them relocated, Mayor Mvogo said she has been working with the Housing Authority and Ministry of Public Works for the last 12 months as the mayor and she thinks they have done a wonderful job by putting up structures to relocate over hundred families in Brewerville.
She further said the families were not forcibly removed but they have asked to be removed. And they have a list of over four thousand people who have asked to be relocated.
“We are trying to get houses for the victims bit by bit, because finding homes for thousands of people cannot happen overnight, so we need to be looking for more homes for the affected residents”, said Mayor Mvogo.
Samson J. Nyan Commissioner of West Point said the recent storm started two nights ago when there was a rise in the ocean tide. He said over a hundred and twenty five houses have been washed away by the sea with a little over five hundred persons now homeless, bringing the number to nearly six thousand persons.
“The recent group is seeking refuge with friends and relatives around Monrovia. I must admit that the situation is overwhelming and we do not have an immediate plan for victims now, because slow pace in the relocation exercise is worrisome, that we pray it improves. We are asking other good will people and other organizations to come to the aid of the victims in West Point.”
As to whether the West Point Authority was taking money from affected victims in order to be relocated, Commissioner Nyan said nobody was paying a dime to be relocated.
“Because the process is slow due to the number of people, the citizens are getting impatient and they will say all sorts of things, but we are not taking any money from people who are already divested” , said the Township Commissioner.