Residents along the Kotu-Abuko Stream say they are reminding President Adama Barrow about the $46 million canal project, with the pipes running from Lamin to Abuko and connecting to Bakoteh, Bundung, London Corner, and through to the Kotu Stream.
They say President Adama Barrow promised to deliver this project during his tour of the communities affected by flood waters in August last year.
After the heavy rains caused widespread loss of properties within the Greater Banjul Area on 31 July and 1 August 2022, President Adama Barrow on 2 August visited the affected victims and vowed to start a US$46 million canal project by December 2022.
He said the project, after completion, will solve the recurring flooding that communities within the Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region have faced over the years.
“I don’t want to see anybody suffer in this country, and that’s why I didn’t hesitate to come out and visit the people affected by the heavy rainfall,” Barrow declared.
Now, residents in the flooded communities say a year today, the President nor his government agencies have made any move to convince them that the project will be delivered anytime soon.
They say the government’s failure to fulfill its promise makes life unbearable. Since the President’s visit in August 2022, the situation has remained the same, as the communities are still inundated when it rains.
The rains in the past few days, this August 2023, have left many households and compound owners abandoning their houses due to flooding in the area, according to residents.
Juldeh Mballow of Nema Kunku village told TAT: “We want to remind the President of his promise that his government has secured funding to build a canal that will run from Kotu to Abuko by December 2022.
“We want to inform him that our experience this year is far worse than last year, and unless he fulfills his promise, the situation will continue to make many people homeless,” Juldeh Mballow, a resident of Nema Kunku, said.
“Unless the President has forgotten, we, the people suffering, cannot forget what he promised us because we were so excited that this issue by December 2022 will be a thing of the past.
“Unfortunately, with the experiences we are going through, we lose hope on the President’s promise because we haven’t seen any sign that will convince us that the President is serious about his statement.”
Mariama Sumbunku, a resident of Bakoteh, said President Barrow “should come out and clear the air about the promised $ 46 million project for the Kotu-Abuko Stream.
“The President had told the people that funding for the project was secured and that work was to start by December 2022.
“To date, no visible structure is seen to convince us that President Barrow was truthful in his statement.
“What we are facing here is unbearable; whenever it rains, my family is never at ease because of the flood waters.
“We have no time for sleep because flood waters occupy our house. I want to call on the President and the NDMA chief, Sanna Dahaba, to go around and see for themselves the deplorable situation we are living in. Maybe this will convince them to proceed with the project without further delay,” Sumbunku added.
“Right now, all the households living along the Kotu stream face harsh conditions that need urgent government attention. Many families cannot sleep in their houses; some have abandoned their homes, and there is worsening health caused by the persistent flooding, all of which the government has neglected to address.
Hon. Musa Cham, the National Assembly Member for Serrakunda, also expressed remorse about the challenging conditions of residents along the Kotu-Abuko Stream area.
He called on the government to expedite the canal project that President Barrow promised and said it would ease the flooding in these communities.
The government should address the difficult living conditions of the people who are struggling to attend to their livelihood due to the persistent floods.
It should look into a temporary solution by engaging civil engineers and other stakeholders, pending a final resolution.
He said he recently toured London Corner Faro Kono and other places to see their present condition for himself.
He had also asked the Minister of the Environment a parliamentary question about the Kotu-Abuko Stream project, who responded that the issue is now with the office of the Vice President.
Hon. Cham urged the office of the President and stakeholders to find time to visit the affected communities.
He also called for expediting the Kotu-Abuko Stream project to end the recurring annual flooding in the affected communities.