Fidelity bank banner UBA banner
Sinking Sierra Leonean town seeks God’s protection

By News Express on 26/08/2018

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 531

•A soggy main street in Yeliboya [Mara Kardas-Nelson/Al Jazeera]
•A soggy main street in Yeliboya [Mara Kardas-Nelson/Al Jazeera]

Yelibuya, a small town in northwest Sierra Leone, is precariously perched on a sandy, waterlogged stretch of land that juts out where one of the country's largest rivers, the Great Scarcies - also called the Kolente, yawns into the Atlantic Ocean.

Little more than a few straggly mangroves grows here.

Fresh food and water are imported, and everything from the town's singular motorcycle to children's clothes are covered in sticky sand.

But Yelibuya is bustling. 

About 5,000 people live in the town and surrounding area.

It sits between the coastal cities of Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, and Conakry, the capital of Guinea, making it an important last stop on a long and historic trade route.

A majority of the country's fish and rice is harvested along the river.

With poor road networks, traders brave choppy waters on small canoes to buy Yelibuya's fish in exchange for cassava leaf, groundnut, clothes, and building materials.

But life in the town is increasingly impossible; the island is going underwater.

Mangrove deforestation, coastal degradation and rising sea levels have led to dozens of homes being flooded each year. Residents make new ones, often on stilts, to lift them above the slush.

While there's no official government data on how much the water is rising, elders in the community estimate that the ocean has encroached inland at least 300 metres over the last 30 years.

According to some estimates, Yelibuya will be completely submerged within two decades.

"As you can see, there is no method for protection," says Abdulai Bangura, one of the town's elders. "And it gets worse every year. We only seek God's protection."

Mohammed Salie Sesay has lived in Yelibuya for 20 years. He's lost his home twice, most recently in July. Each time a home is demolished, he builds a new one on drier land with money he makes from daily fishing.

"I would leave, but my business is here, my wife is here, my kids are here. We're fully dependent on the island," he says.

Yelibuya's residents are trying to adapt.

Two of the town's most important structures, the clinic and the chief's house, used to sit on the ocean's edge. They've been moved further inland, towards the small mangrove forest.

Despite being built on heavy cinderblocks however, the clinic is regularly flooded and the chief's house looks out onto a sandy bank that is perpetually filled with water with the encroaching tide.

The mangrove patch offers the only barrier between the town and the rising water.

But because of wood harvesting, the patch is getting smaller.

In a place with no electricity, no alternative natural fuel, and a constant need for rebuilding, mangrove wood is being used for current problems, rather than protecting against future challenges.

Yet life goes on, with some recognising the economic opportunity of life on the island.

A bag of rice sells for 110,000 leone ($14) in Sierra Leone, and 325,000 leone ($40) in Conakry, so Sierra Leonean traders are choosing to live where they can trade upwards rather than settling in a less precarious, but less lucrative, location in the country's relatively dry interior. (Aljazeera)


Source News Express

Posted 26/08/2018 04:55:35 AM


Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+




You may also like...
Cloudy and sunny conditions to dominate today’s weather:...

Buhari back home after vacation, expected to resume...

Rotarian Nwigwe, giving back to society

FOI: SERAP wins round one in battle over...

Aisha Buhari’s hypothesis of political strangers

EFCC re-arraigns 5 over N789m subsidy scam

CAN warns: ‘We won’t accept 2015 polls result...

Ekiti Debacle: Buhari deconstructed

Rap mogul Jay Z sets Twitter on fire...

Developers of collapsed building ignored ‘Stop Work’ order:...

Hell exists; I was misquoted — Pope Francis...

Arsenal better than Chelsea —Pele


Latest News 2019: Bode George, other South-West leaders warn South-East leaders •Urge support for Atiku/Peter Obi ticket N2.97 billion not accounted for in 2016 audit: Report EFCC detains Fayose over N4.6b slush funds Red Cross begs Boko Haram to free Leah Sharibu, Alice Loksha Fayemi appoints COS, SSG, CPS VP Slot: Obi competent; South East Governors not against him — Gov. Umahi Boko Haram: Senate summons security chiefs Landslide destroys 40 buildings, historical sites in Cross River Court bars INEC, APC from disqualifying Zamfara candidates Hauwa’s execution by Boko Haram barbaric, totally unacceptable, says Adegboruwa We stand on Atiku/Obi ticket — South East former lawmakers NERC moves against abuse of estimated electricity bills


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (406,882 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (382,415 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (314,785 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (257,011 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (237,426 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (224,301 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (204,097 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (185,573 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (170,144 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (165,876 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (161,495 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (149,290 views)


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (67) Business & Economy (3,683) Business Verdict (52) Columnists (946) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (559) Features (659) Global Business Monitor (304) International (2,536) Interview (165) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (145) News (39,677) Opinion (1,124) Pidgin (13) Politics (7,254) Religion (880) Sports (1,731) Stock Watch (35) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update


Zenith Zero Balance

NLNG Expression of Interest banner

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner




LIBYA vs NIGERIA 2-3 Goals Highlights


APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera