17 August 2017 – United Nations agencies are stepping up efforts to aid displaced families affected by the deadly flooding and landslides in Sierra Leon’s capital, Freetown, and surrounding areas.
“The scale of the damage is unprecedented,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim.
He noted that at least 109 children are counted among the several hundred people killed in the disaster that struck on Monday.
“Children have been left homeless, vulnerable and terrified. We must do all we can to protect them from disease and exploitation,” he added.
UNICEF teams, working with the Government of Sierra Leone and partners, are providing safe drinking water and sanitation, and delivering supplies including medicines, tents and gloves following the Government’s request for support. UNICEF is also offering psycho-social support to those traumatized by the events.
While the mudslides have left death and destruction behind them, the Director and Representative of the World Food Program (WFP) in Sierra Leone, Housainou Taal, said his UN agency is “focusing on survivors so that they can rise and move forward.”
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Sunil Saigal, appointed Mr. Taal to coordinate the UN’s humanitarian response to ensure timely distribution of aid, including food and shelter.
In the hours following the landslides in Freetown, WFP began distributing food aid to some 7,500 people affected by disasters. The aid, which includes rations of vegetable oil and vegetable oil lenses for at least two weeks, has been distributed to Regent, Sugar Loaf and Mortomeh – neighbourhoods around the affected area.
According to preliminary results of site assessments conducted by the Sierra Leone National Security Office and the United Nations Interagency Rapid Response Team, 1,039 households from several neighborhoods in Freetown (including Regent , Kamayamah, Dworzak, Culvert and Kaningo) and 100 individuals currently in a mountain cut shelter have been affected by floods and landslides.
Sierra Leone’s Office of National Security (ONS) estimates that more than 3,000 people have lost their homes.