(Cover photo: UPI News-Ernest Henry/EPA)
The mountain town of Regent in the greater Freetown area of Sierra Leone experienced heavy rains on the night of 13th August, resulting in devastating mudslides and flooding. Hundreds of lives have been lost and massive destruction of property experienced.
The Sierra Leone Young Christian Students Movement (SLYCSM) informs us that, “several settlements including Mount Sugar loaf, Regent, Motormeh, Kamayamah, Kaningo, Dworzak, New England, Kroobay, Mountain cut, George Brook, Big warf and Wellington among other communities in the western Area witnessed one of Sierra Leone’s greatest natural disaster ever recorded.”
SLYCSM further adds that “according to current updates, about two hundred and ninety are considered dead lying in the Freetown central morgue awaiting burial starting on Thursday 17th and the numbers are expected to increase as rescue and recovery efforts are still on going.”
While commending the efforts of the Office of National Security, Red Cross, The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Journalists, other organizations and all those individuals who continue to help in diverse ways to tackle the disaster, the SLYCSM calls on Government, NGOs, Charitable institutions and philanthropists to help rescue the victims.
Pope Francis has sent his message expressing strength and consolation to grieving families and prayerful solidarity with rescue workers, and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.
The Deputy Director at the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, in charge of the Climate Change Secretariat Mr. Mohamed Bah, told the Standard Times that ““until we stop dumping waste into drainages, until we stop clearing the trees, we will always face severe consequences of climate change”.
The Standard Times also spoke to the Executive Chairperson of the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, Madam Jatou Jallow who said “it’s amazing to see how powerful water is” and advised that human beings need to change their way in which they care for the environment. According to Madam Jallow, environmental issues are not just environmental concerns alone but there has now been development as well as human right issues where people must change the way they care and respond to the environment in order to get a well-meaning habitat.
Just a couple of weeks ago, CYNESA was approached by the Climate Change Forum Network of Sierra Leone, to explore the possibility of a partnership. Executive Director, Amara Salami, told CYNESA that “after the outbreak of the Ebola Virus in the past two years, many people are suffering from the impact of climate change, because of poor adaptation strategies and response measures.”
In the encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that “the pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world.” (LS.161).