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Army flies attack Firestone

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An army of flies spreading diseases mainly through food have attacked Camp C of Firestone Liberia Rubber Plantations Company situated in Harbel Margibi County with camp residents sending SOS call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promptly intervene and bring relief to the affected camps.

Explaining the ordeal recently to reporters, a group of inhabitants from the area lament their children are almost eating flies daily due to the huge presence of the insects in their homes. A female inhabitant, who claims to be a fish seller, narrates that she is constrained to travel far in the bush in order to dry her fish to void swampy attack from the giant flies.

According to her, before she serves her customers with fish product, she had to lock doors to her house to prevent the invading flies from entering her apartment.
Some women, who are wives of contractors of the company note that because of the grave situation, the camp is now referred to as “flies’ camp” by surrounding inhabitants.

They add that Camp C is among the new housing units constructed by the management of Firestone Liberia to accommodate contractors and their families.According to them, they were advised by contractors, not to allow the company to send their husbands to live in the camp because of the invading flies, something they describe as very strange in the camp.

They warn that if nothing concrete were done to bring the situation under control, there would be an eventual outbreak of diseases mainly, among children, who lack strong immune system to fight imminent disease.

The residents of the affected camps blame the situation on a former waste site of the company, which is very close to the proximity of the Camp C where the flies had set up a garrison.

They call on the Firestone Management to relocate them an healthy environment or take the jobs from their husbands, adding that they were not prepared to live under such a terrible and horrible situation, which pose grave danger to their lives.

When this paper contacted the communications officer for Firestone Liberia via email, management says it is aware of the issue regarding complaints of excessive numbers of flies in Camp B & C of Division 39.

“Representatives from our Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability department have been onsite working cooperatively with members of the community to assess and correct the issue as quickly as possible”, replies the company.

Management explains that the cause of the fly infestation is believed to be the result of the housing community’s relatively close proximity to an area used for the collection and disposal of company’s waste, and the recent ongoing dry weather.

But the company reveals that immediate actions to correct this issue include installing door and window screens on all housing units in Camps B & C, respectively, and exploring relocation of the waste disposal area to a more remote location on the farm.

“The health and welfare of our employees and their dependents is a top priority at Firestone Liberia, and we are committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible”, an official from the company via email concludes.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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