A Chance for Change
The tragic landslide in Sierra Leone’s Western Area Peninsula Forest opened people’s eyes to the importance of land use planning and conservation. If nature and wildlife are protected, the country can develop into an attractive tourist destination.
Text: Claudia Christine Wolf
The trekking trail through the Western Area Peninsula Forest ends close to Sierra Leone’s popular River Number Two Beach. Behind us, in the heart of the rainforest, lies the majestic Guma dam, which provides water for the growing population of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The earth is smoking. Hot ashes and burnt remains of trees cover the ground.
»People continue to encroach the forest and build houses in the National Park,« says Environmentalist Momoh Bai-Sesay. »There is logging, mining, and hunting. But the country is at a turning point. People are sensitized. They have learned from the landslide in 2017.« Now, as we cross the National Park’s boundary, heavy drops of rain start falling from the sky. They mark the beginning of the rainy season – a season that is awaited with fear by many since the year the rain washed away hundreds of lives at Sugar Loaf Mountain.
In 2017, in the early morning of August 14, a hillside of Sugar Loaf Mountain close to Freetown collapsed after heavy rains and killed over 1000 people. The landslide was mainly due to heavy deforestation: people had cut down trees within the boundaries of the Western Area Peninsula Forest National Park in order to expand their settlements. After the tragic event such illegal activities were banned in the area the landslide had occurred, but they continue in other regions ... weiterlesen in der FriEnt Study 2019 (Volltext ab S. 74)