Liberia: Flood Victims in New Kru Town Frustrated over Govt. Failure to Find Lasting Solution to Sea Erosion
Monrovia – Several aggrieved victims of sea erosion in the Borough of New Kru Town on the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia have vowed to stage a peaceful protest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices of President George Manneh Weah due to the ‘failure’ of government to find permanent solutions to the severe hardship they are encountering as a result of persistent erosion.
Report by Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
The victims complained about the lack of adequate support from the Government of Liberia (GOL) to help relocate them or curtail the overflowing of the Atlantic Ocean into their respective homes.
In recent times, flood has rendered hundreds of residents, mainly elderly women, men and children homeless in several communities in the Borough.
The incident compelled almost all of the victims to seek refuge at the homes of nearby family members, neighbors or friends in the area, or faraway places.
Fundaye, Florida, Crab Hole, Whea Town, among others, are communities that have been severely hit as a result of sea erosion and flooding.
The victims complained that finding lasting solutions to the consistent overflowing of the waters into their homes every rainy season, remains unresolved for several decades.
They claimed that though efforts have been applied by them to prevent flooding through the creation and cleaning of drainages, construction of blockages, among others, nothing has been done properly by government to address the suffering they continue to encounter year after year.
The aggrieved citizens recalled that a promise made by President Weah to help relocate them or find solutions to the consistent overflowing of the waters into their homes during the campaign period of the 2017 general and presidential elections is yet to come to fruition.
No relocation, no votes
Madam Boryonnoh Kun, 56, a mother of seven children, is a victim of the erosion and the Chairlady of Fundaye Community. She has lived in the Borough for several decades.
An eight-bed room house left behind by her late father was wiped away by the Atlantic Ocean.
“As you can see-I am lying beside where I use to live. Nowhere to go. The sea finished carrying my whole house. I was stopping with my neighbors, but they too have been affected. I packed my belongings to people places”.
Madam Kun claimed that the governing party is not showing no real interest in reclaiming Montserrado County, which was lost to Senator Abraham Darius Dillon during the 2019 senatorial by-election due to the manner and form in which those who brought the party to power are being treated.
“I want this message to go to President George Weah directly. He shouldn’t play with we the Kru people. We been trying like this, but we have given up already. Every day they are coming next week to place rocks here, no way”.
“They say they want to reclaim Montserrado County, but they are playing with New Kru Town. When they continue to play with New Kru Town, they will not be able to get Montserrado back. Although we are living along the coast, but we have influence over New Kru Town. If things remain like this, I will not vote my son, because politics is interest. If the President does not come to my rescue, I can’t vote”.
For her part, victim Joanna Weah who bragged of having no family tie with President Weah despite her surname, disclosed that the current level of hardship is making things worst for them and their respective family members.
“They say they want to reclaim Montserrado County, but they are playing with New Kru Town. When they continue to play with New Kru Town, they will not be able to get Montserrado back. Although we are living along the coast, but we have influence over New Kru Town. If things remain like this, I will not vote my son, because politics is interest. If the President does not come to my rescue, I can’t vote”.– Boryonnoh Kun, 56, Mother of Seven
She is a mother of 13 children.
“I will sleep right in the water tonight because there is no sleeping place. My things will remain in the water until George Weah can help us with money to find place to stay. Right now, it is not easy. Things are really hard”.
“By Monday around 5AM, the day will break on us in the streets. The only good thing we want from them now is to come help us with money to find our place. Whether they block sea or not, we don’t care anymore”.
The Borough of New Township situated on the outskirts of Monrovia is a vote-rich region of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change “I personally voted for George Weah. I expect him to come to my aid during this time. But we are not seeing nothing. As you can see, I am homeless; I just paid my rent about three months ago, but now, I am sleeping to my friend’s place,” Mafanta Massaley, 30, stated.
Mafanta claimed that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Liberia has intensified their already impoverished living condition, making life almost unbearable for them.
According to her, most family members, lovers and others who have been extending helping hands to them, have been redundant or dismissed from jobs as a result of the pandemic.
“Right now, my boyfriend is not even working, and I am not doing anything. Where will I get money from to relocate?”
Moses Brown, 42, is another victim who is not allowing the current situation to take away his life as a result of hunger.
He chops palm nuts, from trees that were brought down as a result of the erosion to sell for survival.
“The sea broke down my house. The palm tree was beside my house and it broke down too. Nothing to do and I don’t have nothing to eat today. So, I am cutting palm to go and sell to buy cups of rice to sustain myself”.
“More than one week now, I been sleeping with my friend. We want President George Weah to come to our aid. Let him try by all means to bring the rocks to block the sea”.
It appears that victims of sea erosion and flood are getting ‘fed-up’ with the normal attitude of government, through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), and other humanitarian and philanthropic organizations operating in the country to make donations to them only during the time of disaster.
Traditionally-rice, oil, mattresses and cash are normally given to these victims as a sign of solidarity from government and others.
But victims have vowed to reject the donations of assorted and food items to them during this crisis.
“Our government, representative and other people need to graduate from just giving us rice and mattresses when we are experiencing flood. We want them to find solution to this because, it happens every year,” Nagbe Pajibo stated.
Alphonso Kun, the former Youth Chairman of the CDC in the Fundaye Community called on President Weah to live up to the promise he made to residents of the area.
He questioned the rationale behind the decision taken by government to initiate the coastal defense project only to protect the D. Tweh Memorial School’ leaving other communities and homes vulnerable.
“The sea came in 2005 this way but it went back because there were no rocks placed over there. But since the blocking, our houses have been wiped away. It was better for the President leave the ocean the way it was than just securing the D. Tweh School and leaving the other places vulnerable”.
“I will either build my house before the police station on the road until government can find place for me to be. This government loves violence and I will be a part of the protest”.
“This is not what we voted for my son; the people fooled us. I believed that we were misled to vote for them,” an elderly woman stated.
It remains unclear whether or not government would extend the coastal defense project initiated to protect the D. Tweah Memorial High School and the Redemption Hospital-the second largest referral hospital in the country-to the Fundaye, Florida and other communities in the Borough to help curtail the severity of the erosion.