After 166 years, poverty, the worst scourge in human existence is looming in Southeastern Liberia with many families living below the poverty belt.
Basic infrastructures such as roads, communication and the purchasing power of the people in the southeast are incredible.
An investigation conducted recently in Southeastern Liberia indicated that due to the isolation and the distance from Monrovia, the cost of living is very high in the area with basic commodities being sold at sky-rocketing prices.
On road connectivity, although some of the counties in the area are carrying out constant road rehabilitation; most areas are still inaccessible either for lack of bridges or lack of good roads.
Our investigation also proves that the Fish Town Harper Highway which was reconditioned and awaiting pavement might cut and become inaccessible due to the imminent rainy season if the funds for the payment are not urgently released by the African Development Bank.
From Pleebo City in Maryland County to the provisional city of Barclayville in Grand Kru County, one would wonder if he or she is traveling in a country that has been among the comity of nations since 1847.
The three major bridges connecting Pleebo and Barclayville are constructed of planks and commuters or heavy duty trucks traveling in that part of the country risk serious accident, even though these bridges are being used by MOPP and Golden Veroleum.
Despite the presence of multi-national companies such as the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation (MOPP), and the Cavalla Rubber Plantation that are operating under one management in the Southeast and that of Golden Veroleum and Atlantic Resources roads are a major problem making one to wonder what their role in implementing their social responsibilities are.
In terms of human suffering, children roam the several villages along the route half naked or totally nude as if they were living in primitive time.
In an interview with an elder in Harper, Maryland County, he pointed out that the closure of the Port of Harper is also contributing to the hardship in the Southeast as the movement of goods and services are restricted to the bad roads.
Mr. Peter Dweh said people have to commute between Harper, Fish Town or other parts from the Southeast to the Ivory Coast to get basic commodities or wait for days if not weeks to transport such goods from Monrovia.
During our investigation, most schools in the Southeast were discovered deserted during school hours while those that were open or in session had to wait for students to walk miles before reaching the learning centers.
Even those who are employed in the Southeast have to walk distances to get their salary checks and upon encashment of those checks a deduction of almost L$3,000 for transportation must be made. However, with the intervention of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Afriland Bank through the opening of Rural Financial Institutions, that problem might be solved for those residing in Barclayville, Fish Town and Zwedru.
On regular banking activities, people interviewed in Harper and other parts of the Southeast revealed that most of the banking institutions open their doors twice a week making it difficult for the conduct of financial activities.