Religious Pilgrimages are not the priority for Sierra Leone. It's Man-Made Disasters

In the second flash flooding to swamp Freetown, less than two years after a mudslide killed hundreds in Sierra Leone's capital, at least five people are dead.

Torrential rain overwhelmed the city's drainage system, creating waterways that churned down streets, according to eyewitness reports posted in real-time on social media.

"Report disasters as a result of today’s downpour to the FCC’s Disaster Response Team," Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr urged on her official Facebook page at 8:24 a.m. on Friday, August 2. 

In stark contrast, authorities at State House made no reference to the disaster in its post on Saturday, August 3, only saying the president and vice president "bid farewell to about 900 Sierra Leoneans performing this year’s Islamic pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia."

In 2015, floods killed 10 people and left thousands homeless. Two years later, flooding and mudslides in Freetown killed nearly 500 people, reported Clarence Roy-Macaulay for the Associated Press.

"At the time, some critics accused the government of not learning from past disasters in a city where many poor areas are near sea level and lack good drainage,"  he noted on August 2, 2019.

"The aggressive illegal felling of trees on the hillsides of Freetown, and illegal settlements coupled with people living in filth and squalor under bridges and areas susceptible to landslide or mudslides during heavy rains exemplify ignorance about environmental and ecological catastrophes during unusually heavy rainfall," wrote a political and social commentator on Facebook.

"Recklessly clogging drainages with garbage adds to the catastrophe. Incidentally, the flooding in Freetown is just one of many disasters in the West Africa subregion."

Reporting on the Freetown Kroo Bay slum floods for the third year in a row, Swit Salone said Sierra Leone ranked 138 out of 172 countries prone to natural disaster as measured in the World Risk Index, which is calculated by the United Nations University for Environment and Human Security.

A pilgrimage is often described as a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. It is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith. 

Isn't it time for Sierra Leone's political leaders and those who elect them to make a metaphorical journey into their own beliefs?


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