West Point, an overpopulated municipality of the Liberian capital, Monrovia, is considered the worst slum in Liberia. It was also deemed one of many epicenters during the Ebola crisis, this prompted government to barricade the area from the rest of Monrovia. On a positive note, West Point produced 2015 International Children’s Peace Prize winner, Abraham Keita. But as John Kumeh reports from Liberia, West Point is not far from making another international headline if enough is not done to stop open defecation.
John Kumeh, Monrovia, Liberia – It is becoming evidently clear that West Point is likely to resuscitate the Ebola disease if nothing is done to save the enclave from its poor sanitary condition. West Point is lacking public sanitation facilities.
Most substandard residential homes as well as public facilities in the area were constructed without restrooms or toilets. As a result residents are left scrambling to find latrines to ease themselves. Locals in the area use the beach-side or what some refer to as “Goal post toilets” to defecate. It is very common to locate “Goal post toilets” around the banks on the Montserrado River.
The coastline ranging from White Flowers Community, an area occupied by Ghanaian Fishing Men is been used by some residents to defecate, the area has literally succumbed to human feces. “What I am seeing if nothing is done here, surely there will a serious health problem in this area” a residence noted.
Human feces can be seen on every corner of the beach, while domesticated animals, like dogs, are visible in search of food in huge stockpile of garbage.
What is even more alarming is that despite the unhealthy nature of the community, many substandard restaurants also refer to in Liberia as “Cook shop” are operating along the beachside with customers trooping in to purchase food. “I am compare to cook and sell food in this area, because this where my food is bought faster,” a cook shop owner asserted.
Besides the poor sanitary condition in the area, accessing safe drinking water is another major challenge. In a bid to access safe drinking water, residents who are self sustainable usually purchased bottled water. Those who cannot afford to buy bottled water are left with no option but to continually drink water from unprotected sources to quench their thirst.
As a pivotal moment for West Point, residents are calling on the Government to launch a relocation campaign in order to save lives from major outbreak of disease. They said, if nothing is done to curtail this alarming situation, Liberia is soon to be faced with another outbreak of disease.