Save the Western Area Peninsula Forest – Sierra Leone

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Uncontrolled purchase and sale of land, building construction, logging, farming, stone mining, charcoal burning etc have caused massive deforestation and degradation to the National Park. This has had tragic consequences for vulnerable people living in and around the forest.

On August 14th, 2017, following very heavy rainfall, twin disasters of mudslide and flooding struck some areas in and around the National Park. Hundreds of people were killed and many more lost their homes and possessions. This fatal and tragic incident has been linked to the extensive deforestation and degradation of the Forest.

The international community supported the efforts of government and other local actors to provide immediate relief for the mudslide victims and their families. Efforts are still continuing but unless the National Park's boundaries are strictly enforced and all illegal activities like deforestation halted – a repeat of the 2017 mudslide is likely. Immediate action is needed now to prevent another disaster and to safeguard the long-term future of the National Park and the services it provides to the people of Freetown - the Capital city of Sierra Leone

The forests of the National Park occur on hills overlooking Freetown, and protect the water supply catchment for over 1.5 million people in the city. They also hold a wealth of endangered animal and plant species, some only found in West Africa. The Forest has therefore been a protected Forest Reserve since 1916 and most of it was designated a National Park in 2012. The WAP National Park is a Globally Important Key Biodiversity Area and is currently on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with the potential to become a fully accredited World Heritage Site, once its protection is assured'.

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