-as Thousands made homeless
Heavy floods have cut off the main road leading from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County to Monrovia, forcing drivers and commuters to turn away, while thousands of residents have been made homeless, particularly in Joe Blo Town, around Smell No Taste Community following torrential rains.
Normal movement along the RIA highway was disrupted early Thursday, June 30, constraining travelers coming and leaving the country to turn back. Dozens of homes have been reportedly washed away. The Liberia National Police has immediately shut down the route and directed commuters and drivers to use the 15 Gate road leading to kakata instead.
Regular business activities in Joe Blo Town were at a standstill yesterday and vehicles leaving Monrovia to Harbel or heading from Harbel to the capital turned away as passengers and marketers expressed frustrations.
Speaking to The NewDawn in Joeblo town, a resident Mr. J. Dieyee Zolo, narrates, “This flood came as the result of two days rain that fell here; the rain fell for four hours each day before it try to cease, and this is the first of its kind for rain to fall like this; all the years I been living here as a resident of this community, I have never experienced what we’re seeing here today.”
Mr. Zolo said however said no one could be held responsible as this was natural disaster, lamenting “The only thing that frustrates us is the way it destroyed our properties, the rain crossed the road and covered the entire streets before entering many houses – as the result, many houses were broken down; people lost their mattresses, clothes, and other personal belongings.”
He said over a thousand residents are left homeless, and they are now pleading with neighbors to sleep in their living rooms, which is a serious embarrassment. Passengers and commuters venturing to make the way were constrained to pay 100 Liberian Dollars to some bystanders who offered their services to cross people, putting them on their heads and shoulders.
A marketer from the Redlight Market in Paynesville, Madam Rebecca Doe said the flood situation was hindering the business, particularly those of them who transport goods to Harbel and Buchanan to sell. “Now how are we going to get rid of this situation, we all are very surprised, because this is not the first time for flood to overtake this area, but to the extent of stopping cars from going and coming, is what shocking to me”, she added.
Meanwhile, many flood victims in Joeblo town were seeing sitting along the road side begging for assistance. One of them, Mrs. Mavaniel Zorh said, “I am just worried about where to get additional money to find place for myself, my sister, and my aunt to move, because as I stand here, the flood overtook our entire house; we didn’t take a pin from inside.”
A taxi driver, Karwah Larmah said since he began plying the highway in 2012, this was his first experience. “I strongly believe when Farmington River fills, it pushes all of the smaller rivers back and this is what led to this incident. The best thing the government can do to avoid reoccurrence is to build a bridge.