Africa has tasted its fair share of natural disasters – floods, erosion, wildfires, famine, torrential rains, the AIDS scourge and most recently, the catastrophic mudslides in Sierra Leone which reportedly killed over 500, but there’s still hope in the continent.
The country was on a recovery path, having suffered a devastating Ebola pandemic barely three years ago.
Over 500 dead bodies have been found and buried while more than 600 persons are still reported as missing.
Following the unprecedented disaster in Sierra Leone, churches and mosques offered prayers last weekend in honor of the dead while calls for foreign aids continued.
Some internet users showed empathy for the irreparable loss. Yet, other bigots blamed Barack Obama and Africa in general, for giving the world only Ebola, AIDS, wars, unwanted kids, and an ever-increasing dependency on others for survival.
“Really?” You may have asked yourself. I did the same too, but don’t jump to conclusions yet.
@LadyWolfSpirit wrote, “all you black folks that are crying about how mistreated you are in America, this is what true tragedy looks like…these are people that truly need help…”
In truth, Sierra Leone needs help from governments, individuals and private organizations. No support at this time would be considered too little. Those who survived the mudslides need clean water and food to live. Government officials say there’s great fear that water-borne diseases may kill even more than the reported death toll.
@ivan supported the positives saying, “Count your lucky stars you do not live in ANY Sub-Saharan African nation. I volunteered there in the Peace Corp . The way of life is severely stunted by lack of ingenuity . These countries survive off of the generosity of global AID . There is a lack of infrastructure because of the lack of basic comprehension needed in a civilized society.”
We shall not deny the fact that most African countries are still wallowing in abject poverty despite their abundant natural resources. For Sierra Leone, it was first war, then Ebola, and now this bad news which aren’t all man-made.
To buttress the point on man-made contributions to Africa’s “backwardness,” I would blame it on a bunch of greedy and irresponsible politicians who see government funds/business as their birthrights to personal aggrandizement rather than a means to improving lives; lack of commitment to development policies; abandonment of development projects; brain drain; and apathy among citizens. Sadly, no excuse is acceptable for failure.
Until history is properly addressed, there are no doubts that it’ll keep repeating itself.
The mudslide in Freetown has been blamed on a more deliberate man-made activities rather than climate change or other similar natural disasters. Sugarloaf, still covered on the top at about 3,000 feet with healthy green plants, is supposed to be an officially reserved area formerly known as the Western Area Forest Reserve.
It’d be rightly said that citizens and governments brought deforestation upon this mountainous part of the city which had been a source of clean water although this responsibility has since waned. A post-civil war boom in Freetown led to some unplanned house constructions in Sugarloaf which badly damaged the geographical location.
A 19th century research from Dr. Ronald Ross, whose invaluable contributions helped in conquering the deadly Malaria pathogen, recommended that houses for Europeans “should be built on elevated sites.” This place lies over 700 feet above Freetown.
Sierra Leone gained independence from the British government in 1961 and inherited the “luxe location” which soon became a reserved area for top officials. Then came civil war which was interrupted in the 90s. Thousands of displaced people from villages swarmed Freetown in search of food and shelter, making it impossible to control the number of people living in the affected area.
The once-elite location quickly transformed to a jungle for the rich and poor despite warnings of a looming danger from environmentalists.
Another critic @nate wrote a shocking, dehumanizing and hopeless but somehow true statements about Africa.
In his words, ‘Afrlca is giving nothing to anyone . . . apart from EBOLA
‘No. lt wiII not do. Even as we see Afrlcan states refusing to take action to restore something resembIing civiIisation in Zimbabwe, the begging bowI for EthIopia is being passed around to us, yet again.
‘lt is nearIy 25 years since Ethiopia’s (and Bob GeIdof’s) famous Feed The WorId campaign, and in that time Ethlopia’s popuIation has grown from 33.5 miIIion to 78 miIIion today.
‘So why on earth should l do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the Iogic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that Iogic doesn’t count.
‘One is my consclence, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed chiId, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of . . .
‘Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financiaIIy. UnIike most of you, l have been to Ethlopia; Iike most of you, l have stumped up the Ioot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-chiId we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, KaIashnikov-bearing hearty, siring chiIdren whenever the whim takes him.
‘There is, no doubt a good argument why we shouId proIong this predatory and dysfunctionaI economic, sociaI and sexuaI system; but l do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a coIumn like this.
‘lt wiII win no friends, and wiII provoke the seIf-righteous wrath of, weII, the seIf-righteous.
‘AIas, that wretched country [Ethiopia] is not aIone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, Iies SomaIia, another fine Iand of vioIent, KaIashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girI-circumcising, permanentIy tumescent Iayabouts.
‘lndeed, we now have aImost an entire continent of sexuaIIy hyperactive indlgents, with tens of miIIions of peopIe who onIy survive because of heIp from the outside worId.
‘This dependency has not stimuIated poIiticaI prudence or commonsense.
‘lndeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the next president of South Africa being a firm beIiever in the efficacy of a IittIe tap water on the post-coitaI penls as a sure preventative against infection.
‘NeedIess to say, poverty, hunger and societaI meItdown have not prevented idiotic wars invoIving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, SomaIia, Eritrea etcetera.
‘Broad brush-strokes, to be sure. But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, PoIand, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than aImost any part of Africa.
‘They are now — one way or another — virtuaIIy aII giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its Iush pastures, is giving aImost nothing to anyone, apart from AlDS.
‘MeanwhiIe, Africa’s peopIes are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecoIogicaI degradation.
‘By 2050, the popuIation of Ethlopia wiII be ;77 miIIion: The equivaIent of France, Germany and BeneIux today, but Iocated on the parched and increasingIy protein-free wasteIands of the Great Rift VaIIey.
‘So, how much sense does it make for us activeIy to increase the aduIt popuIation of what is aIready a vastIy over-popuIated, environmentaIIy devastated and economicaIIy dependent country?
‘How much moraIity is there in saving an Ethlopian chiId from starvation today, for it to survive to a Iife of brutaI circumcision, poverty, hunger, vioIence and sexuaI abuse, resuIting in another haIf-dozen such wide-eyed chiIdren, with comparabIy joIIy IittIe Iives ahead of them?
‘Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.
‘For seIf-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. lt has sustained poIiticaI systems which wouId otherwise have coIIapsed.
‘lt proIonged the Eritrean-Ethlopian war by nearIy a decade. lt is inspiring BiII Gates’ programme to rid the continent of maIaria, when, in the aImost compIete absence of personaI seIf-discipIine, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of popuIation-controI now operating.