- Residents in Liberia's capital Monrovia had been hit by what has been the country's worst flood in history which was precipitated by intense and heavy rains, forcing more than a thousand people to flee their homes.
While canoes and makeshift vessels were used to evacuate hundreds of trapped people, some families could be seen hastily fleeing with their valuable household materials such as mattresses, cooking pots and clothes. The all Sunday heavy rains had partially left the entire neighbourhoods of Monrovia flooded and blocked roads in the area.
Assisted by the Red Cross, Liberia's Ministries of Health and Internal Affairs has since been assisting in evacuating the flood affected residents to safer locations, said Liberia's Chief Medical Officer Bernice Dahn. The government has not only temporarily relocated residents in nearby schools, it is also consulting several international aid agencies in the country on the coordination of assistance to homeless people.
Jerome Nyenka, the Executive Director of Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency attributed the floods to the high level of rainfall and "encroachment" of human habitations on wetlands. He said the affected areas are swamps where structures have been built thus preventing the flow of water.
The government has tasked the EPA and the Ministry Public Works to undertake an assessment to determine the cause of the floods and its environmental impact. Besides, the General Services Agency and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been directed to assess the level of assistance the government can render the victims.
Liberia's worst floods followed a warning by meteorologists that the entire West Africa region will likely receive above average levels of rainfall this year. Already, some countries in the region have registered high rainfalls.
The floods came as the West African country is planning to celebrate its 161st independence anniversary on 26 July. On Sunday, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf toured one of the affected areas where she had a first hand assessment and assisted victims with food items and other needs.
Liberia's independence celebration will be graced by five former African heads of State, including Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Sam Nujoma of Namiba. The ex-leaders will engage members of the Liberian government - the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature - in interactive sessions.
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