While commemorating the one year anniversary of the death of over 600 Sierra Leoneans during the August 14 Mudslide and flooding at Mortemeh, Kaningo, Lumley and other parts of the Western Area, President Bio has spoken tough on land grabbing and deforestation across the country.
Speaking during an interface religious faith memorial service held at the St. Paul’s Church at Regent on Tuesday, President Bio said his government decided to organize the memorial service in honour of the hundreds of our compatriot that perished on that fateful day.
He described the disaster as a national tragedy and expressed hope that such calamity will never befall this country again and promised that his government will do everything humanly possible to prevent disasters of such magnitude.
The Chief Executive disclosed that when his government came to power, he set up an inter-ministerial committee headed by the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis to look in to the mudslide and flooding, it causes and how to prevent it in the future.
He said after having established the causes of the disaster, his government among others things, had the cause to evict some residents at Mortemeh living in that disaster prone area.
The president warned that as a way of preventing further disasters, government will demolish any structure constructed beyond the green belt at Mount Sugar Loaf, adding that it will also go after land grabbers and people engaging in activities leading to deforestation in that area and other places.
He also warned that Mount Sugar Loaf is a protected area and advised all those in the habit of land grabbing, charcoal burning, cattle rearing and other activities inimical to the environment to stop forthwith as the law will bite defaulters.
President Bio further states that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), security forces and Office of National Security (ONS) will ensure that the Mount Sugar Loaf area is protected to avert another disaster.
He said the epicenter of the disaster at Mortemeh will be declared as a national memorial and tourist sites to honour and always remember those who perished there on August 14 last year.
President Bio also assured the victims and relatives of those who died during the disaster of government continued financial and material support to them, including the provision of safe and cheaper accommodation facility.
It could be recalled that a year ago, August 14, mudslide and flooding rocked the Motemeh community at Regent Village and other parts of the city including Kaningo and Lumley that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and destroyed properties worth billions of Leones in its wake.