By Kebba AF Touray, Reporting from Sabi Village, URR
Mr. Sheriff Sillah, the Chairperson of Sabi Village Health Facility Management Committee, has disclosed to lawmakers that in the past six years, flood has been claiming lives on a yearly basis in the village.
Mr. Sillah informed the National Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday 10th February 2021, during their visit to the health facility as part of their ongoing visit to disaster hotspots and health facilities.
He told the committee that they have been hit hard by floods; saying the last one destroyed their OIC ambulance, fences and soak-away. He said the reports have been taken to the NDMA, but they have never received support from the NDMA for their health facility in the wake of disasters caused by floods in the village.
“This flood destruction has been hitting us for almost 6 years now but we never received support from NDMA. Whatever is destroyed, the community bears the cost of restoring the destroyed properties. Our elders even wanted to relocate the village to elsewhere due to the severe impact of flood, but with the coming of NEMA and PUMAMP Projects, we have sighed relief, but since commencement of the construction of the Sabi Basse road, we started to experience this bitter experience, because the culvert they blocked was where water used to pass through,” he said.
“When it got full with flood water, we told the relevant authority that the flood comes as far as Cassamance and it is emptied here and if there is no proper culvert, it can have adverse impact on the village.
“Since that happened, destruction of properties caused by flood has become severe both in the health facility and the village. For the past six years, no year passed without claiming a life in this Sabi. But despite these severe destructions, we have never received any support from the government and NDMA,” he said.
Hudul EN Colley, NDMA Regional Coordinator Upper River Region (URR), said NDMA received these cases of disasters in Sabi and they should have done something about the matter. But he said, Sabi has never been identified as a disaster hotspot.
“In fact it was the Regional Health Director who told me about these flood cases and upon receiving the information, I paid an urgent visit to the village and forwarded the matter to the NDMA. That is why NDMA has sent a technician to come and take water points in the village to see how the water flows and to devise ways of eradicating the disasters that often happen in the village.
“If there were cases of deaths as a result of flood we are not aware of it, because this year the records we have do not indicate Sabi village as among the worst disaster hotspots. The information we received were those of fire outbreak and storm destruction and the NDMA reached out to the victims,” Colley said.
Adama Saidy Bah, Public Health Officer at Sabi Village Hospital, told the committee that the hospital is faced with mobility, accommodation and equipment challenge.
This, he said, is impacting negatively on their efforts to deliver effective and quality healthcare services to the residents of the area.