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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Charlotte Bridge is a Death Trap
By Aruna Turay
Nov 4, 2009, 17:26
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The only bridge linking one of Sierra Leones most historic villages, Charlotte, to the rest of the Freetown capital city, is slowly collapsing.

Although the fact remains that Charlotte forms a significant component of the countrys history, the village continues to suffer neglect in the hands of governments, both pasts and present.

The historic village is sadly clouded with the reality of poor road networks, lack of electricity supply, lack of transportation, no pipe borne water, no market facilities, no schools, no hospitals and not even a police post, among others. Added to these major constraints faced by residents of this neglected and abandoned village is the dilapidated condition of the bridge that links the village to surrounding communities in particular and Freetown as a whole. The aforesaid bridge has partly collapsed and has been dubbed a death trap.

This reporter was taken on a conducted tour of the village when he recently undertook a visit to the village.

Head Woman for Charlotte village, Mrs. Modupeh Conteh, who led this reporter on the conducted tour, seized the opportunity to appeal to the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and the government to, without further delay, maintenance the dilapidated bridge or demolish and construct a new bridge in the village. She expressed fear that the Charlotte village would be isolated from the rest of other communities if the bridge is allowed to collapse.

"As it stands now, the bridge poses high risk to people who ply on it on a daily basis," she pointed out, adding that "It high time the government intervenes to avoid loss of lives".

The village Head Woman also appealed for governments support in the area of providing electricity, market structures, secondary school, transportation and other necessities for the village.

"The village is presently only boasting of a three room clinic and a six room primary school building," she said, adding that the community is hosting a total of over two thousand inhabitants.

She highlighted that patients, including pregnant women, who are referred to major hospitals for urgent medical attention are faced with the constraints of transportation, adding that, in most cases, pregnant women are placed on wheel barrows through several miles to reach the bus stop.

This, according to Mrs. Conteh, has contributed in the inflated figure of maternal deaths in the country.


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