Liberia: Flood Holds Hundreds Hostage in Margibi County
Margibi County – Hundreds of residents, mostly women and children in lower Margibi County are currently faced with challenged of safe drinking water and food due to flood disaster.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]
The flood has held resident of over seven towns in hostage after the river which bound them from surrounding locals overflowed.
As a result of the flood disaster, the residents say their water sources have turn contaminated while they are unable to move about for food.
The flood affected residents say they have had restless nights since the disaster took place. Water has overtaken their homes.
The Disaster Management Unit has given an alert of rise in waterborne disease due to the flood.
One resident, Ruth Vagbla expressed fear that flood might cause more harm to them in the coming days if no effort is exerted by the government to relocate them.
“The rainy season has not gone anywhere yet and the water has taken over all the houses. No way to do anything for ourselves. We are afraid to drink from the pumps that we have because the water has covered the pump. We do even have any means to go and get food because the river has overflow and water current is high,” Madam Vagbla said.
Another resident, Amos Kai noted that the extent of the disaster is the first of its kind witnessed this year.
According to him, the Arm Forces of Liberia boat is the only means of getting to them, calling for an immediate approach to be made on their behalf.
“If anyone one wants to help us, they have to come quickly, because the problem we face now is bad. We need food, medicine, and safe drinking water. Our children are getting sick, no good place to sleep. Today is my first time coming across since the water came. It was the AFL that brought few of us to look for food but several persons are across the river.
Speaking with FrontPage Africa over the weekend, Mr. Kai said the Liberian Red Cross has come with immediate response but the items are insufficient to address the conditions they faced. These items, according to him include water and nonfood items.
The Liberian Red Cross Society in conjunction with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) arrived in lower Margibi County during the weekend with assorted non-food items for onsite distribution to internally displaced people as a result of heavy flooding in the area
“Our staff and volunteers are currently on the ground aiding the response effort and conducting details assessment. The humanitarian challenges on the ground are really alarming and compelling, water supply and shelter are urgent,” the LNRCS Secretary General Sayba Tamba said.
Speaking with FrontPageAfrica, Madan Tamba noted that the Red Cross team distribution is an initial response of assorted non-food items including lappa, soap, buckets, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, cooking pots, toothpaste and other sanitary materials to 125 households.
“We are doing everything we can with our partners and the local authorities to provide relief assistance to the affected population. However, the support of all stakeholders and partners is crucial at this time in this response”, Madam Tamba added.
Red Cross noted that the conditions of those held hostage by the river remain at inaccessible.
She emphasized the need for the Disaster Management Unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs to respond swiftly with water and medications.
The Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the Unit, Archievego M. Doe, told FPA that the institution is already responding to the situation by providing food and nonfood items.
Doe noted that the Disaster Management Unit is partnering with National Public Health Institute in Liberia, World Food Program and Red Cross to ensure that food, medicines and other emergency needs are provided for the flood-affected victims.
He said the rice being provided to them is insufficient but expressed the need that international partners provide more assistance.
According to him, there has been no report of death. He revealed that the flood has given rise to water-borne diseases in recent days.
“There are speculations of death but medical practitioners need to examine and confirmed that someone died as a result of flood,” Doe averred.
“But the most scaring thing is that flood in recent days has given birth to water-borne diseases.”
Continuous rainfall since July 13, 2018 has caused heavy floods in Monrovia and other parts of Montserrado, Grand Bassa, and Margibi counties.
An on-going rapid assessment led by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has initially established that over 30,000 people have been severely affected and over 2,500 homes devastated by the floods.
Initial assessment says many homes have been destroyed; water sources and livelihoods lost while some communities are being cut off and evacuation efforts are needed urgently at the moment.
Hundreds of people are seeking temporary shelters at schools, churches, mosques and other public facilities and the need for water, food, utensils and clothing is urgent and paramount. The Liberian Red Cross fears that additional communities could be flooded, cut off, and the number of affected people may sharply increase in the coming days as the rains continue.
Meanwhile, the Liberia Red Cross has issued an alert that the number of affected people in the affected communities could become alarming in the coming days as heavy down pour of rains over Liberia will continue according to the Norwegian Meteorological Website.
According to Red Cross, flood levels may abruptly increase as the rains continues and waters from upstream could surge and create more hazards including influx of snakes and other harmful insects.
Over 10 communities in lower Margibi County are benefiting from local early warning devices erected by the Liberian Red Cross. The device is monitored by local community people and thus enhances their rapid response actions as the scenarios of the flood changes over time.