By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – As the raining season starts in Liberia, people residing in slum communities especially in and around Monrovia are now worried because their respective communities stand the risk of been flooded or polluted mostly due to poor sanitary and drainage conditions.
Many of these slum communities lack decent toilet facilities coupled with serious problems of waste management and the constant misuse of drainages thereby putting them at risk.
Residents of these communities always experience serious health hazards during the heavy down pour of rain.
One of such community is the Bong Mines Bridge Area/king Peters Town Community located on the Bushrod Island, near the Nation’s Capital, Monrovia.
The Community has a population of over 50 thousand inhabitants.
Residents of the Community are said to also be going through increased hardship and forced migration to other communities, according to the Chairman of the Bong Mines Bridge Community.
“The entire community gets flooded leading to the migration of residents especially during the rainy season, Mr. Oliver Sehdehnnouh, Community Chairman stressed”.
According to him, the construction of houses on the main drainage line is another factor contributing to constant flooding in the community, but added that flooding is not the only problem facing the area.
Mr. Sehdehnnouh told WASH R&E Team the community lacks public latrines resulting to open defecation, poor sanitation and the lack of safe drinking water.
He described as unfortunate that many of the residents do not even have toilets in their homes.
“The lack of toilets in many of the houses has immensely contributed to the increase of open defecation”, he indicated.
“When it rains, plastic bags contacting feces enter our homes thus creating an unhealthy environment” Mr. Sehdehnnouh added.
On the issue of safe drinking water, Mr. Sehdehnnouh told WASH R&E that due to the lack of hand pumps, they have to walk several miles to other communities in search of safe drinking water.
He further said students and women are the ones that usually go through the daily struggles in finding safe drinking water.
For her part a resident in the community, Madam Kadiatu Bah said whenever it rains for an hour, residents are unable to come out of their homes due to flooding.
She said constant flooding in the area is seriously affecting the community.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the community is appealing to relevant government institutions and NGOs to address the issue of constant flooding and help provide access to improved WASH facilities.
The visit to the Bong Mines Bridge Community is in continuation of the Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation by the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, with support from WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone.