The Ministry of Public Works has announced a series of measures to alleviate flooding in around and Central Monrovia. Public Works Minister Dr. Antoinette Weeks says the new measures will appear drastic but is the only option to create short and long term solutions to issues of major flooding in Vai Town, Old Road, Capital Bypass and other affected areas.
Due to heavy rains in the last few weeks, several areas in Central Monrovia have become flooded and unpassable while many homes have been adversely affected.
The flooding has resulted into major traffic jams in several of the affected areas.
Minister Weeks says, the flooding has been particularly severe this year because of higher than usual rain fall over a short period, but particularly because many of Monrovia’s sewage lines had either become clogged or had been built over illegally.
Weeks revealed: “the fundamental issue is that our drainage systems have been compromised.
Houses, churches and other structures have been built illegally on public lands and as a result a large amount of the sewage and drainage systems were blocked.” She continued: “another major reason why there is so much flooding is simply due to the fact that individuals are drying up natural swamp lands to build houses thus reducing options for the natural flow of water.’
Weeks says that the Ministry has been working to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the flooding. She highlighted that a major part of the plan will involve breaking structures built illegally on the drainage lines.
“We tried to create plans that could be done without breaking structures, but unfortunately, this would only have been a short term, Band-Aid solution to the problem which would not have been effective,” said Dr. Weeks.
She continued: “our hearts go out to the people who might be affected by this process, but this is something we must do for the greater good. I know that the task will be challenging, but doable.”
At her recent hearing before the Honorable House of Representatives, the Minister again reiterated these challenges and highlighted the need for additional budgetary support to help the Ministry meet its obligations. At the public hearing, the Deputy Minister of Public Works for Technical Services Minister Claude Langley highlighted that the entire central Monrovia had only one suction truck owned by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, which is not adequate to keep all of Monrovia’s drainage and sewage systems cleared.
He noted that Public Works was committed to getting its work done, but that the Ministry lacked a lot of the basic tools to do so.