Daniella Samura, Communication Officer, Tacugama Community Outreach Program (TCOP)

It is really sad to see innocent people losing their lives due to heavy downpour in Freetown. We pray that those who lost their lives on the 28th August 2022 find peace in God’s kingdom. It is no longer hidden that we humans are the architect of our own destruction. The climatic changes due to human practices and this adds to the risk of flooding. Human beings cut down trees in a large number, thus affecting the process of photosynthesis. A lot of communities in Freetown flooded due to the heavy rains. The sad part is it is our doing. This is because the flooding is linked to people blocking the natural waterways to build houses. Building houses on top of flood plains is very dangerous because it narrows the water way. Once the waterway is narrowed, the water creates a path for itself thereby, causing damages on the way. This is just one of the causes of flooding among others. Did you know that deforestation is also a major cause of flooding? Yes, it is. This takes us to protecting our environment and the forests. Cutting down trees leads to soil erosion, loss of vegetation and eventually leads to climate change. Without the trees to block the massive flow of rain, flooding is inevitable. That is why is it of utmost importance that we protect our environment and forested areas because protecting those means protecting our lives and our futures. Another cause of flooding in Freetown is the blockage of drainages. A lot of people in Freetown throw garbage in drainages and gutters across the city, and this in turn blocks the swift flow of water. When there is a heavy downpour, the water overflows in the streets and enters the houses of people.

The incidents did not stop downtown but also at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS) we had our own share. Change in weather patterns and the new trend with storms has caused serious damages to our infrastructure too. We have a situation where trees fell down and damaged two of our chimp facilities and electric fence. Some of our Eco-lodges were hit too. We are working relentlessly to repair the damages caused by the storm.

As Sierra Leoneans, we should continue to work hard to protect our environment because when such bad occurrences happen, we are the ones that bear the consequences and suffer the losses. It is better to ensure that we are all safe than to risk out precious lives living and building houses in risky areas. Stop throwing garbage into the gutters, stop cutting down trees and stop building houses in waterways. TCS will continue to sensitize the public about the dangers that surrounds deforestation and environmental degradation.  We will continue to carry out many initiatives to protect our environment. That is why we use chimpanzee as a tool to protect our forests and thus contributing towards climate change mitigation.