As Flooding Renders Gbarnga Citizens Homeless, EPA Blames Citizens

GBARNGA, Bong – Residents of several communities in Gbarnga were rendered homeless on Wednesday night because of flooding.

The communities include Rubber Factory, Brooklyn, and Jorkpenmue. The communities lie along the Jor Creek in the city’s center. The flooding had occurred after heavy rains in Gbarnga throughout Wednesday night.

Throughout Thursday, residents were seen wading in water, transporting their belongings to the homes of friends and family members in different communities. Some of the flood victims were unable to take their belongings from their homes in areas with high water levels.

They are appealing to aid agencies and the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Disaster Management Committee to intervene.

Korpo Kollie, a mother of five in the Rubber Factory community, told The Bush Chicken that she and her children were in bed when they noticed the flood waters.

Korpo Kollie, one of the victims of the Gbarnga flooding. Photo: Moses Bailey.

Kollie said she had no alternative but to take her kids out of the house to find refuge in a nearby community.

“Our house is in the midst of the water; we did not take anything. It is this morning that I am trying to walk in the water and check in the house for some of our things,” Kollie said.

Like other victims, she is appealing to aid organizations to intervene.

The flood is also said to have occurred in Cooper Town and David Town on the outskirts of Gbarnga.

Meanwhile, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in Bong, Baiyezenah Brown, has blamed the flooding on “constructions and dumping of garbage” in alleys and drainages in the city.

He also referenced illegal sand mining along the banks of the Jor Creek in Gbarnga as one other reason for the flood.

Closed EPA’s Bong office. Photo: Moses Bailey.

Brown said the EPA continues to warn citizens against building in the alley and illegal sand mining along the Jor Creek but the citizens are yet to adhere to the agency’s instructions.

“We are urging our citizens to listen to the EPA,” Brown told The Bush Chicken. “Environmental issues are issues of greater concern, but in Liberia especially here in Bong County, they just overlook them.”

He expressed regrets about the flooding on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and further noted that it is time that Liberians begin to preserve their environment.

Brown said the EPA is trying to ensure that violators of Liberia’s environmental laws are punished, but he said the lack of environmental courts impedes the agency’s efforts.

He wants environmental courts established around Liberia to help with the enforcement of the laws.

Featured photo by Moses Bailey

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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