Saturday, August 19, 2017

When mountains tumble down

Floods and mudslides that left more than 400 people are believed to have been man made. and could have been avoided, according to Joseph Randall, executive director of Green Scenery, a leading environmentalist.

"When you look at the, Sugar Loaf, which is one of the highest mountains in Freetown, there have been a lot of human activities there in terms of removing the forest cover and constructing houses. People fail to realize that those parts of the city are not sitting on firm rocks. They are sitting on red earth (soil) which becomes easily saturated with water. And when that happens, it means then that there are possibilities that it can cleave off. So, that must have been the cause. For me however, the cause has been a long-term effect because human beings are constantly working on construction. They have been interfering into the structure of that hill, to the extend that the soil must have given way gradually until now when  there has been this rain pour and the soil can no longer hold and erosion is taking place. The other issue of flooding is, we have done so much deforestation. So now what happens is - when it rains the water just slides down and finds it way into a bigger mass. We see the effects of it all around the city. This is because of the construction of houses, settlements have expanded to such an extent that we are now close to two million people in the city. But above all our drainage system is also very poor."

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