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Annie Walsh Pupils Stranded after Heavy Rains

Source Concord Times 22nd July, 2013

A good number of pupils of the Annie Walsh Memorial School yesterday had great difficulty to get their way out of the school compound as a result of the heavy downpour of rain.This reporter, who was at the scene, spoke with some of the affected victims who raised serious concerns over the flooding in front of their school gate.

Umu Hawa Jalloh, an SSS II pupil, said the heavy downpour of rain caused serious discomfiture to them (pupils).

"My uniform and school bag have been soaked, including most of my expensive books. Even my shoe was not spared," she said and added: "We are calling on the Freetown City Council and the Ministry of Works to put more attention on our school gate so that a better drainage system will be constructed."

Wilhelmina Freeman, a JSS III pupil, sustained a minor cut on her feet after she decided to remove her shoe and walk in the muddy stream. She was apparently cut by debris from the flowing water.

A host of other pupils suffered the same ordeal, and were in unison in calling on the municipal council and the body responsible to take immediate action to forestall future occurrence.

Meanwhile, in a related development, citizens across the country have raised grave concern over the derelict drainage system in the country, which is often overwhelmed during the heavy downpour of rain.

A banker, Patrick Koroma, said the streets of Freetown become pools of river when it rains.

"There are no good drainages in the city, especially the central part of Freetown, which has caused serious flooding in the streets of the city. I am pleading to the government to construct better drainages in the country," he urged.

A shop owner along Kissy Road, Salamatu Turay, blamed the flooding on the lack of good drainagesystem in the city. "Most of my goods have been destroyed by flooding," she lamented as goods worth millions were destroyed after the rain water entered her shop.

Motorists and commuters were also affected by yesterday's rain. Momoh Swaray, a 'poda-poda' driver, said that since most of the commercial vehicles use diesel, their vehicle had a breakdown apparently after the flood water entered the engine. This development further led to traffic jams on some of the major streets in the central business district of Freetown yesterday.

Freetown has a perennial problem with heavy rains especially during the peak months of July and August each year. This is caused by both the poor drainage systems, and the reckless abandon with which residents throw dirt into the drainages. Consequently, it is not unusual for streets and even homes to be engulfed by water with the slightest downpour of rain, which sometimes result to fatalities.