After the landslide, mudslide and flooding on 14 August 2017, camps of tents were set up to house displaced people. The Office of National Security (ONS) over the weekend engaged with displaced victims at the various camps in Freetown on dispatch plans and procedures for the closing down of the camps on 15 November 2017. The camps will come down and the victims will be removed from the camps.
The ONS is unable to provide an accurate figure of the number of registered victims who are supposed to benefit from the said package. The Outreach Officer of ONS reported that 1,905 households were initially registered. But, the ONS was unable to verify people or numbers.
The removal plans and procedures, according to John Rogers, Director, ONS, are tailored on processes, which includes the provision of food packages and non-food packages to the victims.
Alusine Jalloh, a displaced person and victim of the mudslide, complained about the cash transfer and their inability to provide a safe place to stay. Jalloh said the Le2 million won’t cover the rent of a new place. The money is too small and we can’t find an appropriate place to live. “This package only address our immediate needs, what is going to happen to us if government fail to provide us the house after one year,” Jalloh added.
Rogers also said there are comprehensive cash transfers and transportation support to be provided to the victims where people can easily locate their new accommodation. The leftover aid items, Rogers said, are to be supplied to the additional victims that were recently registered at Motormeh.
According to Rogers, the said resettlement at Mile Six is currently unavailable as government is developing a well-coordinated plan to ensure that the affected victims benefit from such support stating that the Mile Six resettlement is going to be long-term mortgage scheme.
“The accommodation will be available little over a year as we are working with World Bank so there is going to be systems and procedures for the work to be completed.” Rogers stated.
Jalloh, at the camps, expressed concerned about the inability of the government to provide correct information about a timeline for the said resettlement.
Isatu Turay, a victim of the mudslide, also talked about the poor schooling of their children during their stay in the Old Skol camp. Turay said their children are normally sent back home before the normal school closing hour. “We are concerned about the kind of education the children are receiving because how can a child go to school at 8:00 a.m. and return before 12:00 p.m. Such treatment of children is unfair,” said Turay.
Meanwhile, many other victims described the dispatch package as unreasonable and one that doesn’t seek their interest. But they are forced to accept because there’s nothing they can do. “Because we are desperate, we have to sign the consent document which we don’t know the details,” Isatu Kamara a victim added.
According to Rogers of ONS, the Juba camp will be an exception to the camps that are to be close down on the said date because according to Roger, the cash transfer is very slow at the moment so they have to give them more time to ensure that each victim receive their full package.
By Sylvia Villa
Awoko Monday, November 13, 2017.