Special Awards In Pictures

-Over Alleged Relocation Scandal

Several residents along the beach particularly those effected by the sea erosion in Buchanan in Grand Bassa County risked danger over alleged squandering of funds belonging to the coastal defense project.

As you may recall some two years back, the county was badly affected by sea erosion which forced several hundreds of residents homeless. An unspecified amount was allocated in the county development fund to relocate those affected by the erosion, but up to date said fund cannot be accounted for as those citizens fall prey to the situation, a man who refused to be identified told the reporter.

Speaking with victims in Fanti Town in Buchanan, many of the dwellers alarmed over the danger of the sea. According to one of the resident, Kojo Aquoi said they are undergoing serious constrain as their lives is being threatened by the erosion on a daily basis.

He noted that fishermen are taxpayers and are licensed by the government, therefore, their lives must be protected, saying “we are paying L$11,000 every year to the Liberian government in taxes, so in order for us to be able to pay our dues, there is a serious need for the government to reduce the prices of various commodities on the market”, Aquoi added.

He named safe drinking water, latrine facilities and access to health care among other basic social services as major challenges citizens are faced with in the area. Aquoi, who survives by fishing, stated that though life on the island is unbearable, they have to continue as they have nowhere to go.

He noted that since the outbreak of surging sea water amidst violent waves in the area resident of the fishing community have been living with fear as some of their friends lost their lives during the violent eruption of past sea erosions.

The fisherman also cited that unlike Liberia, fishing materials in order countries are affordable; therefore, government must see reason to reduce the prices of various commodities on the local market as per its communal responsibility.

For her part, Oretha Toe equally complained of poor sanitation facilities in the area, as well as difficulties encountered while seeking medication, as residents have to walk distances to attend to health care, something she considered as frustrating.

She further emphasized that life on the island is very unbearable for citizens, stressing that an urgent investigation should be established to put a system into place to prevent any future outbreak.

Toe claimed that amidst the embarrassing nature, they no longer earn enough as many people are expressing fear of being affected.
Oretha linked the current situation to failure on the part of government to put in good economic system in place, something she observed that is rendering people vulnerable in the nation.

“We do not have toilet in this place; we used the river for latrine purposes. The issue of water is also a challenge for us because our children are getting sick on a daily basis”, she lamented.

When contacted, Grand Bassa County superintend Levi Dammah denied the allegation, noting that at no point had he receive funds for the relocation of sea victims.
According superintendent Dammah, government does not have plan of relocating effected sea erosion victims and if they want to relocate they can buy anywhere in the county.

He further explained that there was no funds ever allocated in this year`s fiscal budget for the relocation of affected persons. Dammah said with effort by his office the county signed an MOU with a company which name he preferred not to establish halted the project due to reason he did not state.

Some of these residents due to the current condition coupled with a broken economic system have engaged into unwholesome activities as means of surviving the ‘test of time’ without considering the risk involved.

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

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