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- 08/25/17--13:33: Sierra Leone: ECOWAS reaches out to UNDP in aid of Sierra Leone
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Mauritania and cholera in Burundi and Chad. This week’s edition also covers key ongoing events, including:
The UNICEF representative participated in a field visit with the Office of National Security and the United Nations Country Team to assess the site that has been selected to relocate displaced persons. If and when the decision is made, the United Nations Country Team will consult and based on the decision, UNICEF will coordinate with the pillars to ensure that all conditions on the ground have been met before the relocation of affected persons.
UNICEF is continuing to support the children that have been relocated to the Don Bosco site. As of 22 August, the total number of displaced children and adults at Don Bosco is 200. Children range from 0 to 18 years old. Almost all of the displaced children are with their adult female family members.
In the meantime, heavy rains are continuing in Freetown but there have been no further reports of flooding. Efforts are now underway to move from the first phase of the response – focused on saving lives and preparedness – to supporting the affected and displaced communities recover from this tragedy.
1. GENERAL SITUATION
On 14 August 2017, Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown was devastated by floods and mudslides caused by torrential rains. The most severe mudslides occurred in the eastern part of Racecourse, in the outskirts of Regent and Lumley area of Freetown. According to the Sierra Leone Red Cross, over six hundred houses were destroyed, 300 found dead and hundreds injured and many more missing. Rescue efforts were slowed due to continuous rains and risk of new mudslides.
2. TURKISH RED CRESCENT ACTIVITIES
Due to the severity of the disaster, Turkish Red Crescent deployed 2 delegates to Freetown, Sierra Leone on 17.08.2018 via an air freighter containing; 2.5 tons of wheat flour, 2.5 tons of pasta, 2.5 tons of rice, 100 tents, 100 kitchen kits, 12,300 razor blades and 1 ton of liquid soap. The relief materials were received by the Sierra Leone Red Cross along with a 15,000.00 USD cash transfer for additional support.
On Monday 14 August, the world awoke to reports of devastation caused by large-scale mudslides and localised flooding in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s rapidly urbanising capital.
The death toll rose within a few days to approximately 500, with several hundred more people reported missing and thousands displaced. The full extent of this disaster and the exact losses are not immediately known and may never be fully investigated.
Read the full story on IRIN.
Heavy and prolonged rain that occurred in Sierra Leone last week, caused a massive landslide on Monday, 14 August. Areas around Freetown, the capital, were swept by a mudslide killing almost 500 people, and triggering massive destructions especially in the areas of Regent and Kamayama. Now, only a year after Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free, this West African country has to deal with loss of lives, severe damage to infrastructure which has left many homeless, as well as threat of various diseases spreading.
The Government of Sierra Leone is planning two months response – many international organisations and government are supporting these relief efforts by either direct action or committing funds. World Food Programme (WFP), global lead of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), is on the ground supporting the digitalisation of registration for food vouchers.
WFP has also deployed an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Coordinator to conduct the initial assessments of any gaps and need for shared communications services. It has been established that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and communications networks have not been affected, although connectivity needs have increased in certain areas.
The ETC has not been activated and the ICT Working Group in the country is coordinating activities on the ground. For more information, contact: Global.ETC@wfp.org
On 14 August, a hillside collapsed and triggered a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown after a couple of days of torrential rain. Almost 500 people are reported dead, with an estimated 600 people missing, and 3,000 people left homeless.
MSF teams carried out assessments of most of the affected communities in the area, from the initial location of the mudslide in Regent and along the densely-populated river valley, to the ocean on the southern side of Freetown. As the immediate medical needs have been covered, MSF is focusing on ensuring people have access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as this is crucial for both meeting people’s urgent needs, as well as preventing outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and cholera. Many of the villages may also be at risk of further flooding and land instability in the narrow, flood-prone valley.
Our teams identified an urgent need for clean water and sanitation assistance in three communities – Pentagon, Kamyama and Jah Kingdom – which have been heavily affected by the severe flooding and mudslide. Teams have set up water distribution sites in Pentagon and Kamyama, and are providing clean water for around 4,000 people in these communities.
The community of Jah Kingdom has been particularly hard hit; the village is cut off except for a narrow river crossing. The one existing ground well for water has been flooded and left unusable. On 22 and 23 August, an MSF team carried out a distribution of water containers and buckets for 210 families and will continue to provide water and sanitation support as needed.
People displaced by the mudslide and flooding are quite dispersed, with many sheltering in places that have opened up in different communities, making it challenging to get a complete picture of people’s needs. It is essential that people living in precarious conditions are quickly provided with sufficient space in all temporary shelters, in order to access safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, medical care, and relief items. Given the risk of water-borne diseases in such a disaster, MSF is also providing information to the affected communities about maintaining good hygiene practices and the importance of using clean water. At the same time, our teams are monitoring for any signs of these illnesses and are ready to respond in the event of an outbreak.
MSF will continue to assess the needs of people living in other affected communities in the area, including the mental health needs of people who have suffered significant trauma with the loss of family members, homes, and belongings.
Deadly mudslides in Sierra Leone’s capital last week has destroyed whole neighbourhoods and left thousands of already vulnerable residents homeless and exposed to disease.
Nearly 500 people were killed and at least 600 more remain missing more than one week after the catastrophe. Close to 6,000 people were directly affected by the mudslides, having either lost a family member, seen their homes destroyed or been injured in the disaster. Initial reports show that children and women are the most affected.
A quick intervention, thanks to $275,000 from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, will allow CARE Canada to reach approximately 9,000 survivors, 7,300 of whom are women and girls.
The mudslides occurred in one of the poorest part of Freetown, consisting mainly of shanties. What little access to the basic necessities the area had has completely collapsed, resulting in a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation services, increasing the risk of an outbreak of highly communicable diseases such as cholera, dysentery or typhoid.
CARE, a member agency of the Humanitarian Coalition, will distribute emergency kits containing blankets, flashlights, towels and hygiene items to 300 affected households; provide 9,000 people with 7.5 litres of potable water each for 60 days; offer unconditional cash transfers to 150 of the most vulnerable households; and conduct a campaign promoting proper health and hygiene to prevent the spread of waterborne disease.
CARE’s response will focus on the needs of women and girls and in particular families with totally destroyed homes and women-headed households.
The Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund is a joint mechanism between the Humanitarian Coalition, its member agencies and Global Affairs Canada.
For more information contact
About the Humanitarian Coalition
The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada’s only joint appeal mechanism for international disasters and emergencies. It is made up of seven leading humanitarian agencies: Canadian Lutheran World Relief, CARE Canada, Islamic Relief Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan International Canada, and Save the Children Canada. The members of the Humanitarian Coalition work together to reduce unnecessary competition, better educate the public on humanitarian needs, increase the impact of Canadian humanitarian responses and reduce administrative costs. Collectively, they are present in 150 countries.
JOHANNESBURG – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed this week’s announcement of a US$615,000 (ZAR 8 million) contribution from the Government of South Africa that will help us provide vital emergency assistance to more than 10,000 people affected by mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone.
“This timely and generous contribution from South Africa comes as people are at their most vulnerable, having lost not only their homes but also their livelihoods,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Housainou Taal. “We are most grateful for South Africa’s response to Sierra Leone’s appeal for international assistance.”
WFP is currently leading a coordinated humanitarian response in the hardest-hit communities of Regent, Sugar Loaf and Mortomeh outside the capital of Freetown.
Together with our partners, we are providing food, shelter and other essential assistance to affected families. WFP is also working closely with the government to strengthen its disaster risk management and emergency response capabilities.
“The people and Government of South Africa have demonstrated their solidarity with the people of Sierra Leone,” said acting Regional Director for southern Africa Lola Castro. “South Africa’s humanitarian support to Sierra Leone is vital at a time when so many global emergencies require support”.
WFP has been working in Sierra Leone since 1968. Our food and nutritional assistance helps strengthen the resilience of more than 800,000 people and supports some of the country’s most vulnerable residents, including Ebola orphans and survivors, people living with HIV and tuberculosis, and smallholder farmers.
Hi-res photos available here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/AuqVrXo5B6
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media, @wfp_Africa and @WFP_WAfrica
For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Claudia Altorio, WFP/Johannesburg, Tel. +27 11 517 1655, Mob.+27 82 908 1448
Francis Boima, WFP/Freetown, Tel. +232 76750787
Elizabeth Bryant, WFP/Dakar, Mob. +221 639 4271
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is helping the Government of Sierra Leone and other humanitarian partners respond to disastrous landslides and floods in Freetown and its environs.
Residents of the Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, woke up on Monday, 14 August 2017 to devastating floods and landslides. Freetown has received above average rainfall for the past month and has also had bouts of extreme rainfall on specific days. On that fateful day, a portion of the Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed and damaged or destroyed nearly 350 buildings while most residents were still asleep.
The latest statistic from the Sierra Leone’s Office of National Security (ONS), as on Wednesday, 23 August reported that 495 bodies were discovered, 350 houses destroyed, 5905 people were displaced and 810 missing.
The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma raised the national security threat to Level 3 in direct response to the unfolding emergency, and also called for support from the UN and donors.
FAO response to the disaster
FAO was actively involved in rescue and evacuation and, provided the first images of the incident working with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and UNOSAT. It has also been involved in technical support to the food and nutrition pillar, resettlement pillar, vulnerability risk assessment and joint United Nations rapid assessment.
On the first day of the incident, the government’s response team was overwhelmed with the amount of causalities caused by the tragedy, and there were not enough ambulances to evacuate the victims. FAO provided two vehicles and staff to help in evacuating the injured to the hospital for treatment.
FAO requested and secured the first satellite images of the incident, activating the UN Chapter on Space and Major Disasters with the support of UNOOSA. Quick action by FAO was critical as the cloud cover prevented any further satellite images from being taken during the rest of the week.
Four maps were created out of the images, depicting the type of landslide, the exact extend of mud flow, the number of buildings, roads and infrastructure affected and the number of people that may have been impacted. The maps helped organizations plan their response. A programme Coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies wrote, “Many thanks indeed for this great help and support.” The maps formed the foundation upon which a layer of drone imagery produced by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) was added, resulting in a joint presentation which was shared with the government.
The FAO is also a member of food and nutrition pillar, supporting the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) and partners to develop a response plan. The Organization is a member of the shelter pillar, technically supporting and advising the National Commission for Social Action (NACSA) and partners with the relocation and resettlement of affected people on land tenure issues, and also technically supporting the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the Environmental Vulnerability Risk Assessment Group.
According to the FAO Representative in Sierra Leone, Nyabenyi Tipo, the Organization hopes to continue to support long-term recovery and strengthen resilience. This falls within Priority Area 3 of the 2017 -2019 Country Programming Framework (CPF). “Over the next three, FAO will work to increase resilience and social protection for vulnerable groups. This will include continued work to strengthen Early Warning Systems and ensure early action”, she stated.
Tipo added that FAO hopes to support the design and implementation of risk informed and shock-responsive social protection to help overcome chronic poverty, as well as to better respond to short-term shocks in food and nutrition security and linking those to longer term agricultural development.
She said that, FAO will also work to ensure better land use planning and management, as part of its work on promoting of responsible governance and sustainable management of natural resources. “We plan to bring in a forestry and land use specialist, as well as a livelihoods specialist, to contribute to the post-disaster needs assessment”, she noted.
By assisting the immediate response, the FAO hopes to strengthen the resilience of communities through supporting the existing systems and instruments, including land use management so that the likelihood of such tragedies is minimized.
Communication Consultant, FAO Sierra Leone
Abuja 25th August 2917. The ECOWAS Commission is reaching out to the United Nations (UN) Agencies charged with humanitarian deliveries as part of its commitment towards bringing succor to victims of flood and landslides in Sierra Leone.
This is in addition to the collaborative hand already offered by ECOWAS to sister global agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in order to ensure that the humanitarian crisis in the West African country is brought under control.
Conferring with UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Edward Kallon on the 25th of August 2017, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza said the ECOWAS Commission is leveraging on the goodwill already generated by its intervention in Sierra Leone to increase the level of assistance received so far.
He briefed the UN chief on the Commission’s activities and meetings culminating in the donation by ECOWAS institutions (totaling $400,000) to the victims and with the possibility of doing more.
The President disclosed that already, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has donated $500,000 to the victims on behalf of the Nigerian private sector while other philanthropists such as Africa’s richest man, the Nigerian Aliko Dangote has also enlisted to help.
President de Souza said after visiting the devastated area, an ECOWAS team was left behind to take care of exigencies in Sierra Leone. The team is working with the Directorate of Humanitarian Affairs as well as emergency response team of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) in the discharge of assigned duties.
He noted further that some Member Countries have been giving donations in solidarity with the ECOWAS initiative under the watch of the ECOWAS Peace Fund while stressing that everything is being done to ensure that the spate of cholera that usually accompanies mudslides, is contained.
“I have issued a call for humanitarian agencies to come and support us while the one million dollars donation is being targeted” The president added.
He however appealed for a situation where the assistance being given to the people would trickle down to the real victims of the disaster. The appeal stemmed from unfortunate reports which trailed the Ebola intervention.
Describing the Sierra Leone humanitarian crisis as tragic, Kallon who is also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative noted that the deforestation of the mountains was partly responsible for the catastrophe after the previous Ebola problem had pushed people who continued to run, up “thereby undermining the integrity of the mountain”.
He presented an overview of what the UN is currently doing to contain the ravaging situation in Sierra Leone.
These included the deployment and engagement in flash updates by the UN coordinating humanitarian Office in addition to the on-ground placement of seven UN disaster management teams while life-saving needs are being progressively increased.
The UN boss assured that useful lessons had been learnt from the Ebola experience.
Overall, 5,000 citizens are affected by the Sierra Leonean humanitarian crisis. No fewer than 2000 people are without shelter while 493 victims have since been buried. Several hundreds of people are still missing.
The International Committee of Red Cross has already launched an appeal for 4.6 million Swiss Francs.
The ECOWAS Commission is the leading international organization at the vanguard of relief assistance to victims of the Sierra Leonean flood and landslides which occurred on the 14th of August 2017.
This bulletin is produced by the UNDAC team in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sierra Leone, liaising with the Office of National Security and humanitarian partners.
Through satellite and real time analysis it has been confirmed that landslides occurred on the morning of August 14th, with the debris from Mount Sugar Loaf resulting in 496 fatalities and roughly 800 missing persons.
There are no visible signs of hazardous waste and there is no information of potential industrial or major commercial building being impacted by the landslide. Nevertheless, more studies will be concluded in near future and the area should be avoided until further notice.
The rainy season is continuing, and the flood affected areas remain fragile. The government counts 5.905 affected individuals and an estimated 80% of that amount relates to flood victims. A number of those in turn represent vulnerable people, especially in case of new torrential rains.
By State House Communication Unit
World Bank (W/B) Country Manager Parminder Brar on Friday 25th August, 2017, presented a technical team from World Bank to Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown.
The World Bank, which is also dubbed as the Knowledge Bank, prides itself on its characteristic extensive and in depth research and analysis to inform it's interventions across the world.
And according to W/B Country Manager in Sierra Leone, the global institution had, six months ago, sent a team in the country to carry out disaster risk assessment and management in Freetown, Bo and Makeni.
In a power-point presentation of Google Earth images, Ana Campos Garcia, World Bank Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, traced the growth of Freetown's population and housing as far back as 1974 showing how seafronts, hilltops and foothills have been gradually depleted and exposed. The team pointed out the risks of mudslides and flooding as well as their impact on bridges and other infrastructure.
The initial assessment, Parmindar intimated, would be completed and presented to government in September 2017 and would be followed by recommendations in November when the final report is submitted.
Following the devastating 14th August, 2017 mudslide and flooding in Freetown, the team has also undertaken an assessment of the damage caused including the economic loss and impact of the tragedy as well as the recovery needs of the country.
And as an immediate response, Mr Brar announced a budget support for existing projects of USD$3 Million and USD$10 Million for new projects.
Brar went on to assure President Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone that "The World Bank Group is also providing USD$500 Million to Sierra Leone within three years".
Prior to the presentations, Parminder Brar handed over an official letter from World Bank president to President Koroma expressing solidarity for the August 14 tragedy.
On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, President Koroma applauded the president of World Bank for the budget support and also for dispatching a technical team to Sierra Leone to conduct such detailed assessment on the damage caused by the flooding and mudslides. "I am looking forward to receiving the final report from the team in November,” he said.
President Koroma's priority in the short term is the relocation of affected persons to permanent and safer settlements. Going forward, the president has instructed the construction of low cost and medium level housing to ensure the forceful evacuation of those in disaster prone settlements. His objective is to prevent any recurrence of the 14 August disaster.
Map indicates the location of active and proposed shelters in Freetown identified by national agencies.
Confirmation is needed of the status and population of these shelters.
Map shows the numbers of registered affected individuals reported by Sierra Leone Office of National Security (ONS).
Map shows the numbers of registered affected children by age group, reported by Sierra Leone Office of National Security (ONS).
Map shows the numbers of registered injured individuals reported by Sierra Leone Office of National Security (ONS).
This weekly bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 49 events in the region.
This week, three new events have been reported:
• Cholera in Kenya
• Hepatitis E in Niger
• Floods/mudslide in Sierra Leone
• Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
For each of these events, a brief description followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as events that have recently been closed.
Major challenges include:
• With increasing incidents of meteorological events (and other disasters) in the region, the existing capacity for mass casualty management remains a concern.
• Two countries, Mauritania and Uganda, have confirmed CCHF during the reporting week, while Namibia confirmed the disease in the previous week. While it is known that CCHF is endemic in the region, the rising frequency of occurrence of human infections is beginning to raise concerns.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General carried out a solidarity visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone from August 23 to 25, following the mudslide that claimed 494 lives and the disappearance of hundreds of people. During his stay, the SRSG interacted with the UNCT and the diplomatic community, including the Secretary General of the Mano River Union. He was also granted an audience by the President of the Republic. He finally visited the site.
The SRSG was apprised of the situation on the ground and the efforts being deployed to assist the country. He extended UN’s solidarity and support to the Government and the people of Sierra Leone, including in the area of rehabilitation. He announced that UN Habitat and UNEP will carry out an assessment mission with a view to developing a medium to long term strategy to prevent and manage risks.
The SRSG welcomed all the assistance to the country and particularly commended West Africa and Africa for their mobilization. He acknowledged the tremendous work of the UNCT and encouraged them to stay the course.
The SRSG highlighted the mandate given to WFP to particularly help the authorities with the logistical management of the aid received. He finally reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to continue assisting Sierra Leone with the development of its organizational and logistical capacities as part of joint efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals.