Life-saving lyrics fill the airwaves in Sierra Leone

Oct 9, 2017

Freetown, 9 October, 2017 - While thousands continue to feel the impact of the flooding and mudslide that claimed hundreds of lives on 14 August, the Government of Sierra Leone has been working with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to advocate risk-awareness at every level.

According to UNDP Landslide Risk-Management Specilalist, Dr. Muhi Usamah, “We know that there will be more floods, mudslides, and landslides in the future.  We just don’t know when.”  However, if people understand the causes and triggers of the risks they live with, they can make informed decisions about where and how they live, and can avoid disaster in the future.

With support from UNDP, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Sierra Leone has developed a radio jingle, to raise awareness of the ways that human activity can be harmful to the environment.  This is important to all people - and particularly important for those living in hazard prone areas. 

The jingle will be aired in five local languages (Krio, Mende, Temne, Limba and Kono) on 7 radio stations, reaching all districts, throughout the country. The jingles will be heard every day, once in the morning and once in the evening for 70 days, beginning 10 October. 

Roughly translated in English, its lyrics are as follow:

“My people, have you seen what has been happening in our country? Many people have lost their lives, among them, many children and women are dead.  Remember that in 2015 when flooding took place in the country.  Life and Property were lost. Now we have seen mudslide-enveloped people and property, together with the regular flood.  But let us ask ourselves: why are all these things happening?  Despite the God-given beautiful country, these things are happening because of the way we treat and interact with the environment; this is man-made. 

“Global experts have said that these things are happening because we rampantly cut down trees, because of sand mining, building our houses on river banks, and on the beautiful hilltops, and because of those who cut the mangroves for firewood and don’t replant, and the way we frequently burn bushes. These things are causing disaster, which could disrupt our development and may hinder the progress of the (Government’s) Agenda for Prosperity.

“Also, global experts say, Sierra Leone is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, where tragedy and problems like heavy rain will occur and they are caused by these things.

“My people, heavy rain and winds are eminent, many have died, properties have been destroyed and the weather pattern has changed.

“In this regard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Office of National Security (ONS), Freetown City Council (FCT), National Protection Area Authority (NPAA), wants to inform all those residing in river banks, valley, or places where water settles, that If tragedy happens you will lose your lives and properties.  Therefore, you must leave those places immediately.

“This is the message, let us take diligent care of our environment. Remember that Sierra Leone is ours, and we should come together and make it a better place for future generations.”

Contact information

UNDP Communications Unit. Email: communication.sl@undp.org.

Tel: +232-99-28-99-55

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