Sierra Leone: Disaster Hits Govt Wharf – Shanty Dwellings Swept Away By Tides

As residents in the central district of the capital Freetown are yet to fully recover from the shock that followed the collapse of the King Jimmy bridge that claimed over 10 fatalities, people hibernating in the Government Wharf area and its environs were rudely woken up in the early hours of Wednesday by strong and uncompromising winds that swept away some shanty dwellings built along the coastal area, including Suzan’s Bay.

Properties worth millions of leones were reported to have been destroyed as shanty buildings constructed along the bank of the sea were either partly destroyed or completely swept away.

One of the victims of the disaster, Foday Mansaray aka ‘Foday Government Wharf’, who has lived in the Government Wharf community for over 40 years, said this is the first time the area has experienced a disaster of such magnitude.

“The incident happened shortly after the early morning [Muslim] prayers, but I thank God that no deaths or serious injuries were recorded; only that most of our properties were damaged by the heavy tides coming from the sea,” explained Mr. Mansaray.

Commander of the Naval base at Government Wharf, LieutenantSaiduAlimamyKamara, told Concord Times that the tides from the sea were coming at a speed of 3.4m, which causedthe destruction of the floating Ponto bridge, a patrol boat 105 and part of the newly built jetty.

“We experiencedheavy winds blowing around 2:00am on Wednesday; even the NASSIT ferry was not spared as it was damaged,” Lt. Kamara said.

Most of the shanty buildings along the coastal area were either partly destroyed or completely swept away by the heavy tides.