Kroo Bay

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Recently Kroo Bay residents have finished the flood defense banking they started with Save the Children’s support eight weeks ago. The first thing the community did was to spend some time clearing the worst rubbish out of the river. Then they filled rice bags with gravel and used them to bank the sides of the two small rivers that run though the slum. This will prevent most of the flooding when the rivers overflow, that happens every time the rain flows heavily.

The two rivers are little more than open sewers and garbage dumps. Part of Freetown is based up on a hill and Kroo Bay is in the bottom of that hill. As these rivers run though the city they are used as sewers and garbage bins. That rubbish then flows down and arrives in Kroo Bay where it joins the sea.

It rains heavily in Kroo Bay for six months of the year. The rubbish that fills the river further up washes down into the community and helps flood the whole area. However, since the bags have been put in place by the residents, the flooding has not washed over into peoples houses.
When I go to see what it looks like in some of the houses next to the river where it always floods, people are very excited about the changes. They showed me how far up the water has come on the bags and how, without them, they would have been flooded many times in the last few months.

Janeba who I have met many times over the months and talked to about the flooding is thrilled. Her home faces the river and they are always the first ones to get flooded. Unlike others she does not have the money to built cement walls around her doors to prevent the small flooding water from coming in. She told me that earlier this year when there were a couple of freak rainstorms that her home was flooded, but in the two months since they put the bags in place, water has not entered her home once.

It is good to see the impact this work is having. On a sadder note, I found that Aminatta, one of the pregnant girls we have been following, has lost her baby. It was Aminatta’s first pregnancy. She was the last out of 7 that I wanted to check up on. She spent nearly a week attempting to deliver her baby. Her family took her to the hospital where they were informed the baby had died and she needed a cesarean, but her parents refused. Finally the dead baby was delivered at home. Aminatta doesn’t know why she could not deliver the baby or why the baby died. I don’t see Aminatta often as she lives in a far corner of the slum, and was really saddened by the news. Aminatta herself is obviously is shocked and scared of having more babies. The only good thing is that she at least survived the ordeal. So, for the seven mothers we originally filmed, the news so far is that there are 6 healthy babies but one who never made it.

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