Regaining old glories Sierra Leone rebuilds its climate services from the ashes of war using new technologies to provide early warnings for vulnerable communities
By Climate Adaptation UNDP
Back in 1929, Sierra Leone served as the headquarters of the British West African Meteorological Services. With independence, the Sierra Leone Meteorological Department was formed. It was one of the most advanced meteorological departments in West Africa, with advanced capacity in weather data collection, analysis and service provision.
There were meteorological stations all over the country. People knew what weather was coming their way, knew when to plant their crops and when to harvest, and decision makers had a long-standing meteorological record they could use to make smart long-term investments.
Then came the Civil War in 1991. Lasting for over two decades, the conflict displaced some 2 million people and cost thousands of lives. It also left Sierra Leone’s weather monitoring and forecasting infrastructure in shambles. Nearly every piece of monitoring equipment was destroyed or stolen during the war. Many of the most capable people that had worked at the Met Department lost their lives or were severely impacted by the conflict.
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