Liberia: Big Explosion at Whein Town Dumpsite

…Residents Accuse Monrovia City Corporation, but MCC Clarifies – For several years now, residents of Whein Town Community in Paynesville, outside the nation’s capital Monrovia have complained about the unhealthy state their community is in due to the presence of the Whein Town Dump site.

A resident, Rita Audrey

A resident, Rita Audrey

The site is operated by the Monrovia City Corporation with support from the World Bank under the Liberia – Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation Project.

Since the commencement of this project, residents of Whein Town have complained about the health hazard due  the of this huge garbage site in their community.

Mountain of Garbage at Whein Town

Mountain of Garbage at Whein Town

It can be recalled that in 2014, residents of the same area set up road blocks to put stop to the disposal of garbage in the area, but the strike action was later cutoff following government’s intervention with some compromises made.

According to residents, since the strike action was cut off  by them, MCC authorities have failed to meet up with their commitment.

Recently, a gigantic explosion took place in the community on the Whein Town dumpsite creating dark cloud in the community with unpleasant scent filtering in the air.

Drainage dug by the MCC where contaminated water  is flushed into some parts of  the community

Drainage dug by the MCC where contaminated water is flushed into some parts of the community

Many of the residents, especially thoss living behind the dump site complained about headache, soul throats and coughing as a result of the explosion.

The residents indicated that since the blast took place at the dumpsite, their health status has deteriorated seriously with their children been admitted at clinics and hospitals.

They informed WASH Media Network that before the blast in the area, they have been facing both sanitary and safe drinking water problems.

The aggrieved residents said they see no light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to the improvement of conditions in Whein Town.

Chairman of the Community, Stanley Young

Chairman of the Community, Stanley Young

In fact, they disclosed that the Government of Liberia through the Monrovia City Corporation has made several promises ranging from the provision of mosquitoes nets to safe drinking water, but none of these promises have been fulfilled by the MCC.

For one of the residents, George Siaffa, an elderly man in his 70s said the headache that he has experienced due to the blast is so painful, stressing that he has never experienced such kind of headache before.

Another resident, a pregnant woman told the WASH Media Network that she has sleepless nights because mosquitoes, flies, rats and cock roaches have taken over the entire community especially during night time.

It was also discovered through WASH R&E investigation that the MCC dug drainage from the main dumpsite entering some parts of the community where contaminated water from the site is disposed.

As a result of this, the residents said water in that part of the community is not safe for drinking.

Another lady told WASH Media Network, two of her kids were hospitalized due to explosion at the site. “this is terrible”, she described the situation.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the area, Stanley Young, said the MCC is very much insensitive to the plight of residents because they are not showing any sign of concern, least to even assist the community.

George Siaffa , a resident

George Siaffa , a resident

Mr. Young indicated that community dwellers were informed by the MCC that the cause of the explosion was due to chlorine buried at the site.

He said his leadership has over the years tried on several occasions to engage the MCC authorities to remedy the situation, but to no avail.

He said, residents of the area are Liberians and as such they must be treated like humans with dignity and respect.

When contacted, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) acknowledged interacting with residents of the Whein Town dumpsite community.

Commenting on the claims of the residents, MCC Public Relations Manager, Jacob Walker neither denied nor confirmed the residents’ claims, but said authorities of the MCC are looking into the matter.

Mr. Walker said it was true that there was some kind of explosion at the site, but linked it to the burial of chlorine at the site.

MCC Public Relations Manager, Jacob Walker

MCC Public Relations Manager, Jacob Walker

He informed WASH Media Network that there was an ongoing discussion with the leadership of the community to work up some modalities aimed at solving the matter.

The residents are demanding specialized Doctors to determine short and long term consequences of the victims of the explosion, demanding credible panel of investigators to ascertain which chemical was buried at the dumpsite that resulted to the explosion, and urgent supply of safe drinking water.

The residents also want not less than One million United States Dollars Trust Fund as benefits for the rehabilitation and development of Whein Town Community and Education of the youths.