On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: Mortomeh is recent spot for encroachers

The Public Relations Officer for the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) James Tamba Kamara has said people have recently engaged in construction activities mainly to complete their unfinished houses at the Mortomeh settlement on the foot of Mount Sugar Loaf, Regent, on the outskirts of Freetown. Over a year ago, Mortomeh was the epi-center of the twin disasters of flooding and landslide that killed about a thousand people and properties worth billions of Leones destroyed.  The recent construction activities in the disaster torn community, according to Kamara are being done by community people, who, despite having been warned to stay off after the deadly mudslide and flooding incidents on August 14th 2017, are busy making moves to complete their houses to start residing in the same community. Kamara said the EPA learned about the said encroachment into the disaster prone vicinity from residents in surrounding communities who noticed the sad development and alerted authorities. “We are on the ground now to really ascertain the information we got and we are seeing people constructing structures mainly to complete their unfinished houses around the disaster stricken area,” Kamara noted. He furthered that most of the people constructing houses at the said area were not able to produce any documents for such activity. Kamara condemned the construction of houses at the Mount Sugar Loaf area, saying they were risking their lives at the same time doing something illegal. He said the EPA was going to put a report together on its findings at Mortomeh for the relevant authorities to take prompt action. Kamara however pointed out that EPA would continue with its sensitization drive to different communities about the dangers of encroaching into disaster prone areas like Mortomeh and others. The Head Woman at Regent Village, Elenorah J. Metzger confirmed that there were series of construction activities at the Mortomeh disaster prone community, adding that some were now doing renovation on houses that were affected by the tremors of the landslide. Metzger further explained that some people were also engaged in stone mining activities around the restricted area at Mortomeh, thereby leaving the environment even more vulnerable to future disasters. She described the situation as unacceptable. Metzger added that she did not know where those people got the authorization to do their construction after the ban on construction around that community before now.  She therefor called on authorities concerned like the Ministry of Lands to take prompt actions, so as to stop what she described as the ‘massive illegal reconstruction’ at Mortomeh.  Large parts of the Mortomeh community are demarcated as ‘red zone’ or ‘green belt’ which means, people should not encroach into such areas for any construction activities whatsoever. This measure, according authorities was to avert a recurrence of the ugly August 14th disaster that ruined the lives of about a thousand Sierra Leoneans. However, with the recent development in the said community, it would not surprise many if any similar or even worst disaster is to reoccur in the Mortomeh community to the peril of more lives.


By Abdulai Gbla

Thursday May 16, 2019.


Comments are closed.