By Ben Samuel Turay and Kevin Hill
Kroo Bay residents are teaming up with international children’s charity Save the Children to prevent flooding in their community in advance of the rainy season.
Flooding is a major problem for the Kroo Bay slum area. Two rivers flow through the community, which is built close to the ocean. As the rainy season starts, the rivers become swollen and overflow their banks into the homes of some of the approximately 10,000 Kroo Bay residents.
In order to prepare for the upcoming rains, Save the Children in conjunction with the Kroo Bay Area Development Association are dredging and disposing of the garbage that is choking the rivers and sandbagging the riverbanks to help hold back the waters.
According to the logistics manager for Save the Children, Vijender Singh, the work is being done “to ensure that we can do some preparedness to stop flooding from happening again this year.” The emergency preparedness exercise is now in its second year and is a part of the health and sanitation work the NGO is doing in the community.
There are approximately 160 people working on the Bolo River project, volunteering their time and receiving an honorarium of Le7500 per day. It is not an employment scheme, but rather what Save the Children’s information and communications officer Jonathan Bundu calls “food for work”.
Chairman of the Kroo Bay Area Development Association, Adams Carew, said that this project will help to stem the flooding that the community experiences every year. One challenge the community faces is the bridge carrying Kroo Bay Road across the Bolo River. The bridge is very low and when the water level is high it can cause flooding. “We don’t want that kind of bridge. It brings flooding,” said Mr. Carew.
Save the Children is not providing infrastructural projects for the community, like replacing the bridge. Rather, it is providing logistical support in the form of rakes, gloves, sand bags and the honorarium for the workers to do their job. Mr. Singh explained that such infrastructural projects must be directed to the local council.
Alhaji Kabbie, a resident of Kroo Bay and volunteer worker, said that “the project is good” and he expects that the flooding situation will be better this year than before.