Advertisement

Freetown flood disaster was '90 percent man-made'

Freetown flood disaster was '90 percent man-made'
From Al Jazeera - November 14, 2017

Freetown, Sierra Leone - Benia Daboh, 31, has been living at a camp with her three children and two nieces since early September.

It is three months to the day since deadly floods and mudslides changed her life.

"I lost my husband, my sister and her husband, now I have to care for their children and my three," says Benia, who grew up in Freetown, and dreams of working in a restaurant or hotel. "I used to sell fried rice, jollof, potato salad and couscous."

Benia is not alone.

There are hundreds like her, whose families, homes and businesses disappeared in the space of three minutes, when volumes of water, mud and rock swept through Freetown on August 14.

The official death toll from the mudslides and flooding three months ago was around 500 people, but estimates said that it was likely some 1,000 people perished.

I lost my husband, my sister and her husband, now I have to care for their children and my three

Benia Daboh, Sierra Leone floods victim

It was not the first time Sierra Leoneans witnessed such dramatic events. With annual rainfall of 3,600 litres, natural disasters have plagued the country for years. But previous floods have had less impact.

This time, preventable human causes are being blamed.

The mudslide that devastated the mountain town of Regent was the result of heavy rainfall, urban sprawl and soil erosion due to deforestation.

It has also been a catalyst for change.

Advertisement

Continue reading at Al Jazeera »