LIBERIA: Over Damaged of Homes and Lives, Margibi Residents take East Internationals to Task

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Residents of Ben Town in Marshall City, Lower Margibi County, have expressed dissatisfaction over the damaged properties and deteriorating health conditions of hundreds of community dwellers as a result of the East China International Construction Site situated in an area referred to be a residential zone.

The Ben Town citizens on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, gathered to protest against the Management of East China International at their construction site in Ben Town, for blasting rocks in what they described as their residential home leading to several homes being destroyed with crack-marks on the walls and citizens developing heart attack.

The protesters, known as property owners led by many females staged their protest at the mining site of the company in Ben’s Town and chanted slogans demanding the Chinese Company to stop work immediately and relocate from their community due to the threats posed to their psychological wellbeing.

The group gathered as early as 9:00 am, expressing their dissatisfaction for the last year at the result of regular blasting coming from the construction site of East China, destroying their properties, a situation which they said provoked them and gathered at various locations around the site, including the company blasting spot chanting protest songs, saying: “We do not want blasting, we are tired of suffering from sicknesses and our homes are damaging. ”

Madam Nancy Kortee, speaking on behalf of the group, said they have exerted all requisite means informing the Government of Liberia(GoL), through Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Judiciary system but yet still all seems to not have been fruitful and decided to fight for their rights through a civil manner by gathering peacefully to express their dissatisfactions with East China International.

“Beginning today, we are stopping them because there is no peace in our community at night and day and this is a serious health threat to us,” Madam Kortee said in an interview with journalists who visited the site.

“Our Kids are getting sick every day due to the pollution of our drinking water and our houses are damaged from the blasting our people are now developing high blood pressure from East China machine sound and we are hereby calling on the government to speedily intervene to relocate the company to an isolated area,” she added.

According to Madam Kortee, who claims to be suffering from high blood pressure, said every time when there is a blast of rock in the area, her pressure increases and one day it might lead to her death.

“I join the protest today because the blasting is affecting our homes and water we are using and we are fed up and hoping the government will intervene this time,” Ms. Josephine Harris, owner of one of the many beautiful houses in the area said.

Meanwhile, following hours of protest, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), arrived at the scene to settle down the tensions and promised to intervene in the situation.

The EPA team on the ground, in a brief meeting with the affected residents of Ben’s Town, has assured the community to reach the site to do a feasibility study of the area in an effort to settle the situation.

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