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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: ALNAP
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Résumé

    En novembre 2014, ALNAP lançait un sous-groupe de la Communauté de praticiens (CdP) en matière d’interventions urbaines dans le but de recenser les enseignements tirés des aspects urbains de l’action contre la maladie à virus Ebola (MVE) en Afrique de l’Ouest. Informé par les discussions au sein de la CdP, les entretiens et l’analyse de la documentation, ainsi que par des articles des médias,
    ALNAP a rédigé quatre brefs rapports sur les enseignements tirés. Trois d’entre eux couvrent les questions ayant trait aux mouvements de population ; au travail dans un contexte de quarantaine ; et à la communication et à la coopération. Le présent rapport étudie diverses problématiques en examinant le cas d’une implantation sauvage urbaine, West Point à Monrovia (Liberia), et son expérience de la flambée de MVE et de la riposte contre celle-ci.

    La flambée de MVE en Afrique de l’Ouest aura marqué pénétration pour la première fois de la MVE dans une zone urbaine. L’ampleur inouïe de cette flambée, alliée aux contextes urbains dynamiques au sein de la région touchée, mit considérablement à l’épreuve les intervenants.

    Les trois pays les plus affectés — la Guinée, le Liberia et la Sierra Leone — ont tous connu une croissance urbaine sans précédent ces dernières années. Tous les trois subissent les séquelles de conflits et d’un développement non planifié, et tous ont des problèmes liés aux soins de santé et à d’autres infrastructures connexes, notamment l’eau, l’assainissement et l’électricité.

    West Point est un quartier de taudis de Monrovia au Liberia qui, bien qu’étant un township officiel de la capitale, a connu des décennies de croissance et d’expansion anarchiques, en particulier depuis que les personnes internement déplacées suite à la guerre civile libérienne ont commencé à y affluer.
    Ce bidonville est aux prises à de sérieux problèmes d’eau, d’assainissement, d’hygiène, d’électricité, d’accès, de régime foncier, d’érosion et de protection, lesquels persistent et sont sans résolution à peu près depuis l’établissement de l’implantation. Malgré ces difficultés, West Point a été décrit comme plutôt cohésif, et grâce à sa proximité à la fois de la côte et de l’activité économique de Monrovia, beaucoup de ses résidents ont un revenu. Au moment de la flambée de MVE, West Point comptait environ 70 000 habitants.

    La MVE a atteint Monrovia en juin 2014, étant arrivée dans le pays en mars. Peu de cas furent signalés en avril et mai, ce qui emmena les autorités à croire que la flambée avait été contenue.
    Toutefois, il devint évident au cours de l’été que l’échec de la communication, allié au déni, à la méfiance et au scepticisme avait poussé la flambée dans l’ombre, et que la maladie et la mortalité sévissaient sans être signalées. En août, après la découverte par un fonctionnaire en visite à West Point de plusieurs cas de décès dus à la MVE, les pouvoirs publics adoptèrent un plan rapide pour transformer une école du bidonville en centre de rétention pour l’Ebola. En l’espace de quelques jours, le centre de rétention fut ouvert, la communauté protesta violemment, le bidonville entier fut placé en quarantaine puis libéré, suite à des consultations tardives entre le gouvernement et les dirigeants communautaires.

    À partir de septembre 2014, c’est la communauté qui prit largement en charge l’action contre la MVE à West Point. Bien que les pouvoirs publics et les acteurs internationaux aient apporté un certain soutien et mis en place un programme, ce sont des volontaires de la communauté de West Point qui s’attaquèrent au démenti, firent signaler les cas et en définitive mirent fin à la crise dans le bidonville, lequel a signalé son dernier cas de MVE en décembre 2014. Les dirigeants de West Point furent par la suite priés d’aider d’autres quartiers de Monrovia à combattre la maladie.

    Aujourd’hui, bien qu’exempt d’Ebola, West Point reste un bidonville aux prises à de gros problèmes d’eau, d’installations sanitaires et d’hygiène ainsi qu’à des difficultés environnementales, sociales et politiques. Les quelques mises à jour et améliorations dont le quartier a bénéficié durant l’intervention n’ont pas résolu les questions qui persistaient depuis longtemps avant la flambée. De plus, la méfiance entre la communauté et les pouvoirs publics risque de durer, car l’avenir de West Point et de ses résidents n’a pas encore été déterminé.

    L’expérience de West Point de la MVE fait la lumière sur maintes questions examinées à travers cette série, notamment les défis posés lorsqu’une quarantaine est mise en place dans un bidonville densément peuplé, l’importance de la mobilisation de la communauté, en particulier dans un milieu urbain, l’influence fondamentale des mouvements de population sur la composition de la communauté, mais aussi sur les comportements tout au long de la flambée épidémique, et pourquoi il a fallu attendre si longtemps avant l’application d’une réponse adaptée à cette crise largement urbaine.


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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    4 weeks since events of 14th August 2017, it is important to review the response to date and to agree the plan for the response going forward

    • Overview of the planning process and update on the GoSL response plan

    • Informed by recent verification of registered affected persons

    • Overall road map and pillar specific key interventions, related risks and mitigating strategies

    • Total budget obtained from existing pillars

    • Restructuring of pillar architecture

    • Tracking of the implementation of the response plan

    • Activity plans tracker by pillar

    • Daily follow up, weekly reporting

    • Pressing issues affecting implementation of key interventions

    • Current number of affected persons in camps and shelters

    • School rehabilitation and access


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    Source: Action Contre la Faim France
    Country: Sierra Leone

    On 14 August 2017, the capital of Sierra Leone was hit by a mudslide and flash floods due to torrential rainfalls. The mudslide, which occurred in the Regent community of Freetown, left hundreds of houses buried under rubble with around 500 people dead, 600 declared missing and other 6,000 affected (Office of National Security data).

    A number of water sources in affected communities were contaminated due to the floods and the availability of clean drinking water remains a concern. An outbreak of waterborne diseases due to contamination of water sources and inadequate health services poses a serious risk. Furthermore, the lack of adequate shelter and WASH facilities leaves people at risk of diarrheal diseases, malaria and respiratory tract infection, especially vulnerable groups such as children under five and Pregnant and Lactating Women. There is a continuous need for the provision of clean and safe drinking water, access to appropriate sanitation, provision of hygiene kits and hygiene promotion to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases and to avoid deterioration in the public health situation.

    ACTION AGAINST HUNGER’S RESPONSE

    After the floods started, Action Against Hunger, as part of Freetown WASH Consortium, has done a rapid needs assessment and mobilized resources for the emergency response to support the victims of the floods in several communities. Action Against Hunger installed 8 water tanks (5,000 litres each) with a total of 11 water points for water trucking in Culvert, Water Street Wellington, Bottom Oku Wellington and Pa-Muronkoh Calaba Town. The organisation is trucking 40,000 litres of water per day, reaching 2667 people on a daily basis. Action Against Hunger is also distributing aqua tabs to the people to ensure the safety standards of the drinking water provided. Action Against Hunger staff, Disaster Management Volunteers (DMV) as well as Community Health Workers (CHW) conducted demonstrations of using these aqua tabs for water treatment in the communities. In addition, Action Against Hunger has distributed hygiene kits, including Freetown WASH Consortium contingency stock, to 200 households in the Culvert community. In order to prevent spreading of diseases, with the help of DMV and CHW, Action Against Hunger is conducting hygiene promotion in Culvert, Water Street (Wellington), Bottom Oku (Wellington) and Pa-Muronkoh (Calaba Town) communities.


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    Source: Middle East Research and Information Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

    by Parastou Hassouri | published September 12, 2017

    Much of the media attention on global displacement currently focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis and refugees’ attempts to enter Europe through Eastern Mediterranean routes. Certainly, the large scale of displacement that has occurred as a result of the war in Syria (the number of registered refugees has surpassed five million), and the rise in number of asylum applications being made in Europe, merit our attention. However, Syrian refugee flows in the Eastern Mediterranean are only part of a larger picture of forced migration. The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) states that such global displacement is at its highest level since the Second World War, and the Middle East and North Africa are an epicenter—not just for Syrians, but for other groups as well.

    Although experts have traditionally considered Morocco to be a “sending” or “emigration” country (the global Moroccan diaspora is estimated at 4 million), in the mid-2000s it became recognized as a “transit” country—one from which migrants hope to reach Europe, either through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, or as a base for sea crossings across the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean and to the Canary Islands. In 2005, Human Rights Watch criticized the Spanish and Moroccan governments for the violent expulsion of migrants from the Spanish enclaves into Moroccan territory. Around the same time, record numbers of arrivals were being recorded at the Canary Islands with media often referring to this new phenomenon as a crisis or disaster.

    Subsequent to these events, and after the uprisings that erupted throughout the Arab world in 2011, the Moroccan King decided to institute constitutional reforms. These were followed, in 2013, by the announcement of plans to develop a new national policy on migration and asylum, and a late 2013 creation of an exceptional “regularization program” for some migrants, making Morocco the only country in the North Africa and Middle East region to attempt to address the issue of irregular migration through a regularization program. Subsequently, some even began to refer to Morocco as a “destination” country for migrants.

    It was against this backdrop that I decided in 2016 to take a UNHCR consultancy in Morocco, to get a better sense of the migration landscape. My work in Morocco was with the UNHCR’s Refugee Status Determination (“RSD”) Unit—the unit within the office that conducts interviews with asylum-seekers in order to determine whether they in fact meet the criteria for refugee status as defined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Although Morocco committed to a new asylum policy and established a national authority meant to deal with refugees (the Bureau des Réfugiés et Apatrides (“BRA”)—Office of Refugees and Stateless Persons), the actual adoption of a domestic asylum law and the establishment of an asylum system and procedures is still pending at the time of this writing. Therefore, in the absence of domestic asylum law and implementing mechanisms, the UNHCR still conducts RSD interviews with prospective asylum seekers in order to assess the merits of their claims. However, some refugees, namely nationals of Syria and Yemen, are simply registered and then referred to the BRA (in order to obtain permits allowing them to reside and work legally in Morocco). Syrians and Yemenis are not interviewed further, since it is assumed that the cause of their flight is well known. (Only those who may not be eligible for refugee status due to the possibility of their involvement in a war crime or crimes against humanity, or other acts that would subject them to the “Exclusion Clauses” of the 1951 Convention are not referred.) However, the number of Yemeni and Syrian refugees registered in Morocco is not very large, especially when compared to other countries in the MENA region (Yemenis number in the hundreds, and Syrians in the thousands).

    The other refugees registered with the UNHCR and migrants coming to Morocco originate from Sub-Saharan African and particularly West African countries: the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and others. Aside from nationals of Syria, Yemen, and the Central African Republic, I found that the recognition rate for asylum seekers from other countries is quite low. What this signifies is that these persons are not deemed to fit the criteria for refugee status as detailed in the 1951 Convention, which requires that the applicant establish that he or she cannot return to his or her country of origin due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on one of five grounds: race (or ethnicity), religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Although the UNHCR also extends protection to refugees based on an “extended mandate” that applies in countries undergoing wide-scale instability or generalized violence, this avenue of protection was also unavailable to most of the asylum seekers I encountered.

    Although in the course of my time in Morocco, I interviewed asylum seekers from a wide range of places, including some unexpected ones (such as Azerbaijan and Afghanistan), I was primarily focused on applicants from West Africa, and particularly (though not exclusively) those from Anglophone countries, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Gambia. The majority of applicants from those countries did not fit the 1951 Convention definition of a refugee. In effect, they are primarily seen as economic migrants.

    The distinction between a refugee and a migrant is an important one—much of the international legal framework that has been put in place since 1951 and continues to this day centers on making this distinction. Refugees may be registered with the UNHCR and then obtain residency and work authorization in Morocco. Some may be eligible for resettlement from Morocco to third countries such as the United States, especially those refugees who meet the UNHCR’s resettlement eligibility criteria (for example, those with legal and physical protection needs that cannot be addressed in Morocco). Migrants, on the other hand, are not owed these protections. Although Morocco regularized some 18,000 migrants after the announcement of its regularization program in late 2013, and although it launched a second phase of regularization in late 2016, not all those staying in Morocco will be eligible for regularization. And although regularized migrants are able to obtain work authorization, they are not eligible for other forms of assistance provided to refugees by the UNHCR and its implementing partners and other NGOs (the number of NGOs assisting migrants and amount of resources available to them is much smaller). The migrants who do make their way to Europe are likely to be rejected there again, especially in light of repatriation agreements between Spain and many West African countries.

    As a practitioner in this field, I understand the reasons for the distinction but find that the issue is not always so black and white—that is to say, political and economic factors behind forced migration are often linked. I have written elsewhere about the fact that in many cases, economic impoverishment and political repression and corruption go hand in hand. Wars also lead to the disruption of livelihoods, and sometimes, it is scarcity and economic pressures that compel some to flee during a war.

    The asylum seekers from places like Sierra Leone and Liberia found the institutional response to their applications for asylum in Morocco and elsewhere rejected based on the rationale that the wars that existed in those countries have ended, and that those countries are now politically stable and therefore considered safe. However, the reality is that in countries that were impoverished to begin with, civil wars have even further devastated the economy and the infrastructure, leaving many scrambling for survival. Peace negotiations and agreements may have brought conflicts to an end, but the post-conflict situation remains fragile, and some of the underlying tensions between various ethnic groups (in places where conflicts were waged along ethnic lines) continue to exist and disadvantaged ethnic groups continue to suffer. They may not be the target of violent campaigns, but their economic and social marginalization persists, even if they may not meet the threshold of “persecution” that is required by the 1951 Convention. The UNHCR’s Guidelines on the Cessation of Refugee Status urge states not to be hasty in the termination of refugee status in post-conflict situations, and to wait until fundamental and enduring changes take place in a country. In practice, the UNHCR itself and member states do not always follow these Guidelines, especially when change comes slowly and with setbacks. Some are fleeing politically repressive, but stable countries, with regimes that countries in Europe support, but where endemic corruption leaves most of the citizenry feeling hopeless. Many of the asylum seekers in Morocco are from Cameroon, whose president, Paul Biya, is one of Africa’s longest ruling leaders.

    It is important to note that a good deal of the economically-driven migration is also due to both environmental and development issues. As far as back 2008, the New York Times reported on the industrial trawlers used by fishing companies to feed the high demand for fish in Europe have impoverished smaller scale fishermen in places like Senegal, driving them to migrate. The demand for fish is unabated, and similar stories continue to appear in 2017. Further complicating the picture is climate change: Senegal has lost 40 per cent of its mangrove coverage (which protect certain species of fish from predators), and combined with rising ocean temperatures that alter migration patterns, fish stocks have been further depleted—pushing increasing numbers towards migration. Climate change is also behind the conflict between Fulani herdsmen and agricultural communities in parts of Nigeria. Due to changing climate and increased drought, to graze their cattle, herdsmen increasingly encroach upon land settled by agricultural communities, leading to conflict and deadly violence. One young man from Benue State, Nigeria, whose family are farmers, explained to me that farming was no longer a viable means of livelihood for him, causing him to leave Nigeria.

    Despite the recognition that climate change already is and will increasingly become one of the primary factors pushing people to migrate, the existing legal frameworks we have to address forced displacement do not address climate-induced displacement in a satisfactory fashion. The 1951 Convention, written well before the current climate change crisis, requires that refugees establish a link between their flight and one of five Convention grounds. Although in some places, climate change may disproportionately impact persons of a particular race or ethnicity, establishing a causal link will not always be easy. Some of the regional instruments that also provide protection to forced migrants, such as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention has an extended refugee definition that takes into consideration migration caused by “events seriously disturbing public order,” but does not specifically mention climate-induced migration. It is also important to note that as one of the world’s most water scarce and dry regions, with high dependency on climate-sensitive agriculture (with a large share of the population and economic activity in urban coastal zones), the MENA region has been identified as one of those most vulnerable to climate change.

    Those leaving their countries in hopes of sustainable lives include women. Many of the women I interviewed in Morocco, particularly from Nigeria, were victims of trafficking. I was in Morocco when the New Yorker devoted a lengthy article to the issue of trafficking out of Nigeria. The account in that piece echoed very much what I was hearing from the women there. The profile of the women was similar in most cases: young women from rural parts of southern Nigeria, mostly recruited with promise of employment in Europe who then found themselves trapped in Morocco and having to pay back a debt for the journey they made. To address this issue, Moroccan lawmakers introduced a draft anti-trafficking law in 2015, and a national anti-trafficking commission has been set up. But in the absence of final legislation and implementation mechanisms, domestic avenues to combat trafficking are extremely limited. This leaves international organizations such as the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration nearly solely responsible for addressing the issue. Although victims of trafficking may qualify for refugee status and in some cases may even be resettled to third countries, in practice, very few of the women who have been trafficked are able to “benefit” from this, due to the procedural hurdles and evidentiary burden that they must satisfy. Most of the women I interviewed approached the UNHCR long after being dumped by their traffickers. Most were either unable to unwilling to share information (understandably so), despite repeated reassurances that they would not face prosecution. Many, even if not formally within the ambit of the traffickers, engage in survival sex. Even outside trafficking, the sexual abuse of migrant women is rampant—it is the price many are expected to pay as they cross borders.

    The 1951 Convention cannot account for these asylum seekers because they may not be fleeing active conflict as conventionally understood and thus may not fit the classic paradigm of a refugee. Policy makers in receiving countries see economic migrants as migrants who “choose” to migrate, many of these migrants do not feel like their migration was voluntary, but was driven by an overriding need to survive or help family members who remain behind survive.

    Although many came to Morocco with the intention or hopes of making it to Europe, more are finding that they have to remain in Morocco (unless they decide to return), as entering Europe has become increasingly difficult. Increased patrols off the coast and interdiction of boats, in addition to the high security walls built outside the Spanish enclaves have ensured that migrants are forced to remain in Morocco. One report estimates that 250 million Euro is spent annually to ensure that migrants in Morocco cannot enter Europe. Of course when Morocco wants to put pressure on the European Union or express displeasure over trade agreements, it uses migration as leverage and turns a blind eye to irregular migration—and arrivals in Europe increase. Morocco’s legalization program aims to address this problem to some extent—after all, it is aimed at regularizing migrants and not necessarily refugees who are present in Morocco. Therefore, to apply for regularization, one need not meet the criteria for refugee status under the 1951 Convention. However, not all migrants will meet the regularization criteria (those eligible include those married to Moroccan nationals; those with valid work contracts; those already residing in Morocco for five years; or those suffering from serious illness). However, even those who are able to obtain legal residence in Morocco must overcome other obstacles, both economic and societal, including racism, and their integration is by no means assured. Various migrants’ rights organizations have pointed out that despite regularization, migrants continue to face abuse, especially at the hands of security officials.

    Consequently the difficulty of remaining in Morocco and the barriers to reaching Europe are also causing the diversification of routes towards Europe, including pushing increasing numbers of migrants towards Libya, where the absence of rule of law has led to less controls over sea crossings, but much greater abuse of migrants. Recently, there have been numerous reports of the horrible conditions in which migrants find themselves in Libya. Although many of the migrants leaving West African countries cross into Libya from Niger, I also encountered a number who, after giving up hope of reaching Europe via Morocco, were thinking of heading east again. However, recent reports of increased EU-funded coast guard activity off the coast of Libya has once again pushed more migrants into attempt to reach Europe via Spain.

    In sum, the migration landscape in Morocco is complicated, and ultimately constrained by the 1951 Convention, which, with its narrow definition of a refugee, fails to adequately address today’s forced migration phenomenon. The increasingly large numbers of those coming to Morocco, who are unable to enter Europe, occupy a liminal space of sorts. They can neither move forward nor wish to return to what they have left behind. Despite some efforts to address this situation through limited regularization programs, most migrants will not be absorbed and reaching Europe will continue to remain the ultimate goal. As long as the underlying factors pushing this migration are not addressed in a fundamental way, as long as the only solution envisioned by the developed countries is one of prevention or containment, migrants will continue to seek different and sometimes more perilous paths towards Europe, and the crisis will continue.

    This article is based on a consultancy with the UNHCR in late 2016 and early 2017. The views expressed in it are the author’s own.


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    Source: UN Development Programme, UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    This weekly update is produced by UNDP in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sierra Leone, liaising with the Office of National Security and development partners.

    Situation overview

    Following emergency response to the landslide and floods in and around Freetown on 14 August 2017, the UN system in Sierra Leone is now supporting national recovery. The UN Country Team has designated UNDP and the World Bank as co-leads of the effort.

    The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has underscored that a national recovery strategy should address both the needs of those directly affected, and a plan to tackle the longer-term issues including environmental; climate and disaster risks; and settlement and urban development.

    Recovery efforts

    Damage and Loss Assessment

    A World Bank team has conducted a rapid Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) covering four thematic sectors: Infrastructure (transport; electricity & telecommunications; water & sanitation; waste management & debris removal); Social (housing; public buildings; health; education; social protection);
    Productive (agriculture, livestock & fisheries; industry & commence; macroeconomic impacts); and CrossCutting Issues (environment). The assessment included contributions from the UN system and other partners and results were presented to the President on 8 September.

    Risk Management and Recovery Action Plan

    Under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the UN system will support the development of a Risk Management and Recovery Action Plan drawing on sector-specific assessments, multi-hazards mapping and other relevant reports. Where gaps are identified, after reviewing and cross-analysing existing assessment report, the Inter-Agency exercise will undertake field assessment and validation exercises.

    The plan is to be concise, evidence-based and costed, to support Government and partners in making evidence-based decisions that address immediate to long-term needs of those affected and at-risk; to provide a roadmap for settlement and national urban planning; and, ultimately, to protect lives and livelihoods from future disasters.

    Settlement Planning and Sustainable Urbanization

    The UNCT is supporting the assessment and development of solutions for issues around settlement planning and sustainable urbanization in Freetown. Linked to environmental assessment and hazard identification work, this includes making evidence-based recommendations on potential relocation options. To this end, a UN-HABITAT team concluded a scoping mission on 8 September.

    Taking this work forward, an Urban Risk Reduction Expert will be engaged to support the formulation of policy recommendations and strategies on settlement planning and sustainable urbanization, in the context of recovery and urban risk reduction; and the formulation of UNDP programming to respond to the Government priorities.

    Surge Team

    UNDP has engaged a Recovery and Risk Management Advisor, to coordinate the Action Plan and oversee the formulation of the recovery programme; and a Communication Specialist to support the mobilisation of resources for these purposes.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Sierra Leone, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    Sia Twiyor* survived the 14 August mudslides in Freetown but lost 16 members of her family in the disaster including her husband, brothers and sisters. Some of them had come to spend the school holidays with her. As she struggles to cope, Sia continues to cry, and has suffered countless sleepless nights since the incident occurred.

    Sia, along with her three young children went to attend a church meeting on the night of 13 August and, because the rain was so heavy, stayed with family in a different part of the city. This decision would save their lives. “That night I called home and also in the morning I talked to my husband on the phone. When news of the disaster broke, “all of their phones were off. I got worried but it never remotely occurred to me that anything like this could have happened.”

    Like Sia, survivors and families of those that perished in the mudslides and flooding are still grappling with the realities of their irreparable loss. The human toll and damage to property was huge. Over 500 bodies have been discovered with over 800 people reported missing, all buried under the mountain slice or washed away into the ocean by the deluge.

    Trauma is a major issue for those affected. Many families have been displaced and have relocated to makeshift structures. Many children have also been orphaned, staying with family members, often wanting for essential resources, or in camps.

    In order to support the psychosocial needs of those affected, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the World Health Organization (WHO) with funding from the UK Government (UKaid) quickly deployed Mental Health Nurses pulled from other parts of the country to provide urgent Psychological First Aid, focusing initially on psychosocial and trauma counselling.

    “Allowing people to talk through their conditions can help in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, when many survivors will experience shock and grief,” says Dr Florence Baingana, Mental Health Specialist at WHO Sierra Leone. “Allowing people to express their feelings and helping them to identify their coping mechanisms and coping resources can offer relief, and help prevent more severe conditions from occurring.”

    The nurses engage the survivors in groups and in individual sessions with messages of hope and relief. They also conduct physical assessments and refer those with critical needs to existing services and resources where they can continue to receive help, including from the country’s three practicing psychiatrists. However, mental health needs also evolve, and some weeks after the initial shock has passed more severe disorders can often become apparent, Dr. Baingana explains.

    Almost four weeks after the incident, hundreds of people in the affected communities and camps have received counselling and a significant number of them have developed signs of mental disorders. “We are seeing people with depressive disorders, severe anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - getting panic when it starts to rain. They feel highly insecure,” says Hawanatu Foday, a mental health nurse deployed in one of the communities. As time progresses and families strive to settle down, Hawanatu says the psychological effect of the devastation is becoming even clearer, including among children. Many have lost parents, family members and their homes, in the spate of just a single event.

    Whilst a large number of the displaced families are camped in tents at locations set up by the government, many children are being accommodated by charitable organizations. Over 150 children, mainly orphans, have been taken in at the Don Bosco Children’s Home. With support from WHO, a child clinical psychologist has been brought in to provide effective psychological support for children dealing with the impacts of the disaster.

    For Sia and many other survivors and relatives, the sight of the towering mountain ridge that glided and buried hundreds of their family members continues to serve as a constant reminder of their horrors and trauma. As children return to school, one woman breaks down, reminded of the loss of her own young ones in the tragedy.

    “Trauma care will not solve the immediate challenges that the affected communities are going through, but will help prevent some long term psychological impacts for those that are still in shock and in denial after the biggest natural disaster on record in this country,” says Dr Baingana. “The next step is ensuring that the country can meet longer term mental health needs. This will require long term support, attention and investment from all involved, long after the media interest wanes and the hustle and bustle of daily life resumes.”

    ***Names have been changed to protect the privacy of survivors**


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 and higher) is compared to last year and the recent five-year average and categorized as Higher (p), Similar (u), or Lower (q). Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season. Additional information is provided for countries with large food insecure populations, an expectation of high severity, or where other key issues warrant additional discussion. Analytical confidence is lower in remote monitoring countries, denoted by “RM”. Visit www.fews.net for detailed country reports.


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Highlights

    • IOM has finalized the installation of floor pallets in all 50 tents in Juba Barrack transit site. All tents are now occupied by households displaced by the floods and subsequent mudslides.

    • IOM has completed the setup of temporary drainage and a communal kitchen in the Juba Barrack transit site. A extension to the medical clinic and a shaded area are being constructed.

    • 2 half-day introductory trainings on Camp Coordination and Camp management (CCCM) were conducted in the Old Skool and Juba Barrack transit sites by IOM.

    Situation Overview

    The floods and subsequent mudslides that occurred on 14 August 2017 have resulted in 500 persons losing their lives and affected a total of 5,951 people (1,616 households). Out of the these affected population, 371 households have sought refuge in collective centres such as schools, mosques, churches, community centres and transit sites whereas 905 affected households are being hosted by friends and families. The majority of displaced persons are located in communities of Culvert, Dwazark,
    Juba, Kamayama, Kaningo and Regent (All data is based on the verification exercise by Registration Pillar on 31 August 2017).

    The government is conducting a reverification exercise and the number of affected households will likely to increase.

    On the 11 September the government announced a reform of the humanitarian coordination structure in-country. The new coordination structure incorporates six pillars, including Psychosocial, Health/case management/burials, Shelter, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Food/Nutrition and Technical. The Communications, Logistics and Security Pillars will continue to exist as cross-cutting Pillars.
    The government has announced to start cash transfer programmes in support of the affected population. There will be two kinds of cash transfers: 1) Humanitarian Cash Transfers targeting all households verified as affected by the floods and subsequent mudslides over a period of three months with a total of USD 180; and 2) Early Recovery Cash Transfers targeting those verified households which are living outside of transit sites and not going back to the original affected locations through one-off transfers with USD 300. IOM will continue supporting the Government of Sierra Leone in CCCM and Shelter technical support as well as additional interventions as required based on the assessments in health, infection prevention and control (IPC) and WASH.


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    Source: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
    Country: Sierra Leone

    The Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassion Relief Foundation, which has been active in providing humanitarian support to vulnerable Sierra Leoneans since the outbreak of the 2014 Ebola virus in West Africa, responded with compassionate care to survivors of the August 14 deadly flooding and landslide that left hundreds of people dead and missing. In partnership with our local partners, Healey International Relief Foundation, Caritas Freetown and Lanyi Foundation, Tzu Chi volunteers visited affected communities the same day the incident occurred and remain committed to providing life-transforming support to survivors. Tzu Chi volunteers and partners completed assessment of needs to better understand what is needed, how to provide support to those who need it most, and work in line with the Government of Sierra Leone. Some of the needs assessed are food, housing, blankets, bedding, clothes, shoes, medicines etc.

    In boosting the government initiatives, Tzu Chi Foundation teamed up with the abovementioned local partners to provide hot meals to flood survivors in Regent, Cline Town, Lumley, and Hill Station Relocation Camp. Even though Regent was the most affected community due to the large loss of lives and properties, many other communities were affected but receive minimal or no support, especially the Culvert Community in Cline Town. Hence, Tzu Chi carefully assessed the gaps and provided support to help affected persons and communities recover quicker. Tzu Chi developed and coordinated hot meal programs with local partners, providing delicious hot meals to more than 50,000 survivors from August 19 to 31 in Regent, Lumley and Cline Town. In addition, Tzu Chi provided hot meals to about 6,000 survivors who are now living at the Hill Station temporary shelters since August 29.

    The meals provided include cooked rice from Tzu Chi Taiwan, with local vegetables and soup sauce, which local volunteers spend hours preparing with love and compassion. Survivors who benefited from the Tzu Chi and partners feeding program expressed gratitude and commended the deliciousness of the food. Many survivors shed tears of joy for the food and love they received from Tzu Chi volunteers and extended their sincere gratitude to the founder of the foundation, Dharma Master Cheng Yen and the entire Tzu Chi family worldwide. In response to the survivors’ request and show of commitment to continue providing support, Tzu Chi volunteers from Taiwan, USA, France, and Spain will be visiting Sierra Leone this September to boost support to survivors by continuing feeding program and distribute blankets, dishes, and pots.

    Tzu Chi Foundation is also committed to contributing sustainable initiatives to help survivors rebuild their lives and recover healthily from their unfortunate conditions. Some of the long-term plans include providing relocation assistance and even the building of permanent housing structures. Also, Tzu Chi Foundation will launch a climate change education to sensitize people to take better care of their communities by planting trees and doing away with deforestation and avoiding disaster prone areas to save lives and properties. Tzu Chi Foundation seeks partnership with any groups interested in addressing climate change in Sierra Leone.


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    Source: UN Population Fund
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Regent, SIERRA LEONE – “I saw the rocks from the hill fly up into the air,” Martha Kamara, 28, told UNFPA, describing the floods and landslides that devastated 13 areas in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, last month.

    Ms. Kamara is eight months pregnant from the Motormeh Community in Regent. She and two of her daughters, ages 9 and 5, survived the disaster. But her three-year-old daughter and brother both died.

    “When the rescue team pulled my brother out from the mud, they pulled out his unclothed corpse and some of his body parts,” Ms. Kamara said.

    She fell unconscious as she watched rescue workers recover her brother’s body, bystanders later reported.

    Pregnant women in urgent need

    Over 500 deaths have been confirmed, and 810 people are missing, according to a 31 August report from the United Nations. Some 1,900 households were affected, the government has reported, including hundreds of pregnant and breastfeeding women, like Ms. Kamara, who have health and hygiene needs that can easily be overlooked in a disaster setting.

    The day after the disaster, the UNFPA-supported Regent Community Health Centre established a temporary health post at the Saio Elementary School, which became a displacement site for survivors.

    The health staff were themselves affected by the flooding and landslides. “We lost our laboratory technician and state-enrolled community health nurse, along with their families,” said Jenebah Sesay, one of the community health officers managing the post.

    Pregnant and post-partum women were among those to arrive in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. “We know of eight pregnant women in the Regent community who survived the landslide,” said Ms. Sesay in the days after the disaster. Many of the survivors suffered from skeletal and muscular pain, she added.

    Ms. Kamara was among those in need of urgent attention.

    After she collapsed, she and her daughters were brought by rescue personnel to the Regent health centre.

    “Martha was placed on an IV drip and received a full examination since she is eight months pregnant and as she was in a stressful state,” said Aisha Conteh, a health officer at the centre.

    Ms. Kamara was provided with maternal health care and discharged.

    In shock and homeless

    But Ms. Kamara’s difficulties were only beginning. The disaster had left her family homeless.

    “We were hungry, tired and still in shock from what had just happened,” Ms. Kamara said. “I lost everything. I had bought all the things for the baby before the disaster. It’s all gone.”

    After she was discharged, the family able to find lodging in the corridor of a friend’s one-room home. Every day, Ms. Kamara and her two surviving daughters travel to Saio Elementary School to receive food, water and other assistance. In the evening, they return to the friend’s home.

    UNFPA is helping to meet the needs of women and girls affected by the disaster. With its partners, including the Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone, UNFPA has reached 83 pregnant women with antenatal care and ultrasound scans.

    UNFPA has also distributed over 1,000 dignity kits, which contain essential personal items such as sanitary pads, underwear, cloth wraps, soap, toothbrushes, a torch, as well as family planning brochures. And pregnant women, including Ms. Kamara, have been reached with “mama and baby kits,” which contain baby clothes, toiletries, diapers, socks and cloth wraps.

    Needs remain significant

    But as the community works towards recovery, the needs remain significant.

    “Trauma is a major issue for those affected,” said the World Health Organization in a September report on the disaster. There are protection needs, as well, because the risk of gender-based violence increases in humanitarian settings.

    To address these needs, UNFPA has trained 54 social workers, partners and family support officers, who will man six protection desks in affected communities. The family support units are attached to local police stations.

    Ms. Kamara received regular psychosocial counselling at the Saio Elementary School health post in the weeks following the disaster.

    – Angelique Reid


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    Source: Peace Direct
    Country: Sierra Leone

    13 September 2017: Sierra Leoneans will not forget August 14, 2017. Flash floods and a mudslide left an estimated 500 people dead and caused widespread destruction. The stakes for conflict are high as citizens seek answers to questions of better urban housing facilities and functional land policies. As Insight on Conflict’s Abdul Brima reports from the capital, the situation remains dire for survivors.

    They say history exists to teach the past and guide the future. But is this really true?

    In 1945, it was the Krio settlements of Charlotte and Bathurst that were hit by a landslide. Then, on Monday August 14, 2017, it was Regent, another Krio settlement 15 miles up the mountains overlooking Freetown, that tasted this tragic devastation. Houses were buried, hundreds were killed and many more are feared dead.

    The scale of this tragedy is unprecedented. The actual death toll and the destruction of property is yet to be totalled. An estimated 3,000 people are thought to have been affected, with an additional 600 still thought to be missing according to reports from the BBC

    Disbelief and horror

    In 2015, torrential rains lead to serious flooding that damaged homes and properties in Freetown. 14,000 people were affected and 10 were reported dead. But did the country learn from this? Answers to this question remain elusive, yet many are convinced that Freetown in particular should have learned lessons from similar disasters in the past.

    Back to the Monday August 14 chapter of flooding and landslide in Freetown. Victims of the twin disaster could hardly believe what had happened. They struggled to tell bitter stories of how their families, neighbours and other loved ones had disappeared in a short period of time.

    Mohamed Turay is one of the survivors of the Regent mudslide. He lost his entire family in the disaster. Fighting back his tears, Mohamed tries to recall what happened on that fateful day: "It happened very fast. First it was a loud bang as if a plane was landing atop the mountain. The next thing I saw were rolling boulders and trees brushing down the hill, crushing everything on the way."

    He survived the horror only because he had come out of the house to use the bathroom when the tragedy occurred. With injuries sustained while running for his life and the ‘electric’ pace of the disaster, there was nothing Mohamed could do to save his family.

    Everyone was in sheer disbelief to see a once populated and busy community turned into a total waste land with its array of houses whisked away. 

    Another survivor, Mabinty Fornah, in pain after sustaining injuries to her legs, said no sooner had she come out of her house to prepare breakfast for her family, than the land started "melting" with boulders and "large" trees rolling down the mountain at a high speed.

    She said, "I ran for my life as fast as my legs could carry me, leaving behind my husband and three children; all of whom perished in the disaster."

    There was an outburst of weeping and wailing, and a total sense of fear gripped the atmosphere as President Koroma arrived at the scene after the incident. The President could not hold back his tears at the sight of dozens of disfigured human parts and houses buried under the rubble. Many corpses were later found trapped under the mangroves along the river banks of neighbouring communities.

    Survival in the aftermath

    As community youths volunteered to search and rescue survivors, the terrible aftermath of the mudslides in Sierra Leone grimly illustrated the human cost of the government’s failure to implement housing and land policies, says Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, Makmid Kamara.

    The Director of Health Alert, Victor Lansana Koroma, noted that the "prevalence and scale of the tragedy simply shows how lack of action by leaders can endanger human lives", also adding that the disaster "could have been averted".

    Urgent assistance is now needed for health emergencies like cholera and to mitigate for the loss of livelihoods.

    Victor noted that a "lack of regulation and insufficient enforcement capacity, and the lack of political will in respecting minimum environmental rights for citizens are the reasons why tens of thousands of people continue to live in very dangerous and vulnerable communities in Freetown."

    Responding to some of these issues the Mayor of Freetown, Franklyn Bode Gibson, explained on national TV that he believes in the business of urbanization, but thinks that most of what happened could be managed, except for the landslide. He went on to say: "People building in water ways, banking drainages for housing construction contributed to this problem. I am against this and appropriate actions will be taken from now on."

    Mayor Gibson asserted that they (the government) had been shouting, fighting and talking about disasters for too long, but people had been defying orders. But now, he continued: "Everyone wants to blame the disaster on the government."

    He called on Sierra Leoneans to work in the interest of national solidarity by consolidating efforts to rescue and provide support to survivors.

    Responses from the ground

    Local and international organisations have been quick to underline that Mayor Gibson is victim blaming, instead of accepting that the government is to blame for the tragedy. Victor points to a lack of enforcement of land acquisition laws and government’s ineptitude to stop deforestation as key in controlling these types of natural disasters.

    Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay, was quick to support the Mayor: "People were warned a week before the tragedy to vacate the disaster prone areas, but nobody headed our calls," he said. He continued that even though all fingers were pointing to the government, "people also have a responsibility to protect their own lives by not staying in places that can endanger their families."

    From a human rights perspective, international laws require that every home be ‘habitable,’ which includes providing protection against natural disasters. To this Victor ponders, "Sierra Leone is a signatory to many of these international conventions, but has the government really gone the extra mile to not only provide her citizens with habitable environment, but also to ensure their safety and security?"

    The answer he says is no. Failures to address proper regulatory policies on land acquisition and urban planning policies are the reason why people continue to erect structures on mountains, under bridges and in water ways.

    Mass burials and urgent supplies

    Meanwhile, a mass burial of 300 corpses took place in Waterloo, twenty miles on the outskirts of Freetown on Thursday August 17, 2017. The country’s Chief Pathologist, Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma, had earlier complained about mortuaries being overwhelmed by the number of bodies received.

    He said in a radio interview that the bodies of those buried were people who had been identified by families or whose remains were rapidly decaying. Speaking to families of the deceased, President Koroma said during the burial that the bodies he had certified were approaching the 350 marker, but still expected more in the coming days or even up to a month.

    The President called on his countrymen to unite and be strong in the face of this catastrophe.

    While food, medicine, other supplies and financial aid from internal and external partners keep streaming into accounts set up for survivors of the disaster, the government thinks a permanent relocation plan is the answer to prevent a future reoccurrence of the problem. But, many would think differently.

    Many think differently. Clearing slums, imposing rigid housing standards including proper community planning are critical. There should also be a commitment to addressing poverty, economic inequality and corruption, which are among several reasons why people live in risky urban settlements, observes Sierra Leone’s Co-Director of Urban Research Center, Joseph McCarthy.

    Joseph further notes that the "government must commit both financially and politically to address the challenges of waste management, spatial planning and deforestation, which are blighting not only Sierra Leone, but other African cities."

    The way forward?

    So where does the country move to from here? International observers and local civil society organisations know that much action was not taken after the 2015 episode of flooding, despite millions of dollars in international aid poured into the country.

    There were millions of Leones and local supplies of food and medicine donated to the victims but many have doubts about how the government managed these resources.

    The flood victims of 2015 ended up spending months at the national stadium receiving treatment and support from international and local agencies. The government finally relocated about 10,000 people to a makeshift community in Mile 6 just outside Freetown.

    Many of the people had since returned to their disaster-prone communities as they could not stand the challenges of living in the community without education for their children, health, food, water and electricity supply.

    Yes, the disaster took away precious lives of men, women and innocent children, but the questions on the lips of many right now are, how do we ensure that human lives are protected in the face of natural disasters plaguing the country? Will the government feel for the pitiable plight of the victims and be more accountable in spending donations and other international assistance? Only time will tell.

    About the author

    Abdul Brima is Insight on Conflict's Local Correspondent in Sierra Leone. A radio producer and presenter on BBC Media Action Sierra Leone, he has worked with rural communities on conflict and development issues in Sierra Leone and Liberia.


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    Source: Peace Winds Japan
    Country: Sierra Leone

    On the 14th August, 2017 at about 6:45 am, after days of heavy rain, a massive mudslide and floods occurred in Regent community in Freetown; the nation’s capital.

    The magnitude of the mudslide was unimaginable and has caused untold suffering on the lives of many people, properties worth billions of Leones were destroyed, houses were submerged and hundreds of people were buried.

    PWJ’s emergency response team is now in Sierra Leone, conducting needs assessment with its local partner CEDA-SL, talking to communities and gathering information to provide appropriate recovery program.

    In Sierra Leone, it is still in rain season, and the PWJ Team witnessed occasional strong rain with gusty winds pouring down already flooded areas.

    This assessment project is funded by Japan Platform and PWJ supporters. PWJ welcomes more support to help recover mudslide/flood affected communities.


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    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone

    A. Situation analysis

    Description of the disaster

    The Gambia is a country of more than 300 km inside Senegalese territory. During the presidential elections in December 2016, The Gambia was a concern because of the outgoing President's challenge to the results. Despite the efforts of the international community for a peaceful resolution, the situation remained tense causing massive displacement of populations towards Senegal.
    According to UNHCR, more than 45,000 people reportedly crossed the Senegalese borders. These displaced persons were comprised of Gambians, Senegalese, Sierra Leoneans, Mauritanians, Guineans, Malians and Ivoirians1. Information collected by the various local committees of the Senegalese Red Cross Society (SRCS) in areas bordering The Gambia reported more than 27,563 displaced persons, including 1,851 children under five years old, 347 pregnant women, and 602 elderly persons. This massive population movement caused a critical humanitarian situation. Even though the first arrivals were absorbed by host populations, during the last few days, massive inflow of displaced persons that exceeded local communities’ capacities was noted. The increasing number of arrivals has t high pressure on host communities that were no longer able to face the urgent needs of accommodation, food, water and latrines. There were very few partners in the area responding to the increasing needs of displaced persons and host communities.
    The security situation evolved with the departure into exile of the out-going President on 21 January, 2017. Thousands of people returned home from Senegal as the country’s new President pledged stability. Many people needed assistance to go back home. Hence buses sent by the Senegalese and Gambian authorities to help repatriate displaced people. The International Federation of Red Cross released a DREF to ensure that the displaced people, received appropriate assistance.
    Through the DREF operation, the target host families got support and the capacities of the Senegalese Red Cross branches were reinforced through a lessons learned workshop focusing on the best practices.
    The major donors and partners of the DREF include the Red Cross Societies and governments of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the USA, as well as DG ECHO, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) the Medtronic, Zurich and Coca Cola Foundations and other corporate and private donors. The IFRC, on behalf of the Senegalese Red Cross Society (GRCS) would like to extend many thanks to all partners for their generous contributions.


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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone
    Country: Israel, Sierra Leone

    The Israeli Government has through the Office of the First Lady Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, donated some medical relief supplies, including 5 cartoons of septrin suspension, 11 cartoons azithromycin tabs, 5 cartoons ciprofloxacin, 3 cartoons septrin tabs, 4 cartoons doxycyline tabs, 8 cartoons vibramycin suspension, 1 box of catgut, 1 box furovenir solution and 68 cartoons of face masks for the August 14 2017 flood and mudslide victims.

    Reporting on the relief supplies to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House today, Tuesday 5 September, the Israeli Ambassador Paul Hirschson said the donation was an emergency aid support from the Israeli Government for victims of the August 14 tragedy which he described as a terrible experience.

    President Koroma on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone thanked the ambassador for the donation, stressing that government's response to the disaster would not only target the directly affected persons but also extend to people living in disaster prone areas by providing them with new settlements to prevent future disasters. "It's going to be a big project," he said.

    The Head of State extended via Ambassador Hirshchson his regards to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu for his letter of condolence in the aftermath of the August 14 catastrophe.


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Sierra Leone, United States of America

    • The Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone had severe impacts on the country’s health system, economy and food security situation. Many households experienced new or increased food insecurity as Ebola-related fears and restrictions on movement and mass gatherings disrupted trade, increased food prices and reduced household income.

    • Food security in Sierra Leone is undermined by chronic poverty. The UN World Food Program reports that over half of the population lives under the national poverty line of approximately $2 per day. According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index, Sierra Leone also faces an alarming level of hunger, with nearly 38 percent of children younger than five years of age suffering from chronic malnutrition.

    • According to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), the weak national currency has driven cereal prices up and reduced purchasing power for some poor households, undermining their access to food. Overall, however, the food security situation in Sierra Leone is improving as the main season crops have performed well due to

    • The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has partnered with non-governmental organizations ACDI/VOCA, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and World Vision to provide much needed food assistance to households impacted by the Ebola epidemic. This support, provided through a mix of targeted cash transfers, agricultural input vouchers and other complementary activities, continues to boost food access and household purchasing power while simultaneously promoting market recovery.

    • In response to Freetown’s August 2017 flooding and mudslide disaster, which killed over 500 people and displaced more than 1000 households, FFP coordinated with CARE to address immediate emergency needs. With FFP support, CARE rapidly distributed food and relief items, including hygiene kits and kitchen equipment, to flood-affected families.

    • During the Ebola response, FFP enabled FEWS NET to increase food security monitoring and reporting in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which guided decision-makers to better respond to Ebola-related food insecurity. To document best practices and lessons learned from the Ebola response, FFP supports learning initiatives through the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
      September 13, 2017 sufficient rainfall. The harvest, combined with normal market and labor activities, will allow poor households to meet their food needs in the coming months and face Minimal (IPC Phase 1)* food insecurity until January 2018.


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    Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Sierra Leone, United States of America

    • The Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone had severe impacts on the country’s health system, economy and food security situation. Many households experienced new or increased food insecurity as Ebola-related fears and restrictions on movement and mass gatherings disrupted trade, increased food prices and reduced household income.

    • Food security in Sierra Leone is undermined by chronic poverty. The UN World Food Program reports that over half of the population lives under the national poverty line of approximately $2 per day. According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index, Sierra Leone also faces an alarming level of hunger, with nearly 38 percent of children younger than five years of age suffering from chronic malnutrition.

    • According to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), the weak national currency has driven cereal prices up and reduced purchasing power for some poor households, undermining their access to food. Overall, however, the food security situation in Sierra Leone is improving as the main season crops have performed well due to

    • The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has partnered with non-governmental organizations ACDI/VOCA, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and World Vision to provide much needed food assistance to households impacted by the Ebola epidemic. This support, provided through a mix of targeted cash transfers, agricultural input vouchers and other complementary activities, continues to boost food access and household purchasing power while simultaneously promoting market recovery.

    • In response to Freetown’s August 2017 flooding and mudslide disaster, which killed over 500 people and displaced more than 1000 households, FFP coordinated with CARE to address immediate emergency needs. With FFP support, CARE rapidly distributed food and relief items, including hygiene kits and kitchen equipment, to flood-affected families.

    • During the Ebola response, FFP enabled FEWS NET to increase food security monitoring and reporting in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which guided decision-makers to better respond to Ebola-related food insecurity. To document best practices and lessons learned from the Ebola response, FFP supports learning initiatives through the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
      September 13, 2017 sufficient rainfall. The harvest, combined with normal market and labor activities, will allow poor households to meet their food needs in the coming months and face Minimal (IPC Phase 1)* food insecurity until January 2018.


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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone, World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund
    Country: Sierra Leone

    FREETOWN, 15 September 2017– Sierra Leone’s first ever Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign kicked off today, September 15th 2017. The emergency campaign targets communities affected by Western Area’s recent floods and landslides, which left over 6,000 people displaced and caused more than 500 confirmed deaths.

    “The cholera vaccine is safe and available free of cost for everyone living in the affected communities who is over 1 year of age,” said Dr. Brima Kargbo, Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. “We encourage people in these areas to take the two required doses of the vaccine, which will significantly increase protection against this life-threatening disease.”

    Two doses of the vaccine are needed to maximize protection against cholera. The first dose will be administered from 15th to 20th September and the second from 5th to 10th October. It will be available at health facilities and from health workers who will be going house-to-house in the affected communities and camps.

    “Risks of cholera can increase after severe flooding and Sierra Leone has experienced severe outbreaks in the past,” said Alexander Chimbaru, Officer in-Charge of the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone. “In such situations, the cholera vaccine can be a valuable tool to reduce risks, alongside ongoing efforts to improve access to safe water, good hygiene practices and sanitation.”

    OCV has been used successfully in many other countries in the past to increase protection against cholera, with Haiti, Guinea, Malawi, South Sudan and Ethiopia having conducted recent OCV campaigns.

    Catchment communities targeted for the vaccine were selected on the basis of detailed risk assessments and include: Regent, Charlotte, Leicester, Awake, George Brook, Grey Bush, Hill Station, Iscon, Jenner wright, KingHarmann Road, Kroobay, Lumley, Mabella, Moa Wharf, PAYCY, Pentagon, SLIMS, Konikay, Stella Maries, Susan’s Bay, Macauley St, Moyeba, UMC Urban Center and Kingtom Police.

    Dr. Dafae, Director of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation reiterated that it remains important to practice good hygiene and sanitation, even for those who take the vaccine. Preventive measures for diarrheal diseases include: drinking only safe water that has been properly boiled or treated, practicing proper sanitation and food hygiene, and seeking prompt treatment at the nearest health facility if sick.

    WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, UKaid, MSF and other health partners are working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to implement the campaign, which aims to reach a total of 500,000 people.

    CONTACTS

    At the Ministry of Health and Sanitation

    Harold Thomas
    Email: haroldthomas2007@yahoo.com
    Tel: +232 76 602 460

    Kadrie Koroma
    Email: kadriekoroma@yahoo.com
    Tel: +23276762962

    At WHO

    In Freetown
    Laura Keenan
    Email: keenanl@who.int
    Tel: +232 786 33952

    At UNICEF
    Issa Davies
    Email: idavies@unicef.org
    Tel: +232 76601310


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, World

    Africa Weather Hazard

    Since early August, above-average seasonal rainfall caused flooding in some areas. With well above-average moisture conditions, additional rain in September may trigger flooding in parts of Senegal,
    The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

    1. Recent heavy rains have caused the Benue River in Nigeria to overflow its banks. Reports indicate that 100,000 people may have been displaced by flooding. Continued rainfall will keep rivers high.

    2. Heavy rainfall triggered flooding in Sudan during the last week. Both the Blue and White Nile rivers are effected, and a dam has reportedly broken along the White Nile.
      Although rainfall is expected to decrease throughout the region in early September, saturated ground conditions sustain the risk for additional flooding


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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Sierra Leone

    As recovery rolls out one month after the emergency response to the 14 August landslide and floods, UNDP will continue to work with the Government of Sierra Leone moving towards sustainable and inclusive risk informed development.

    What have we done?

    UNDP has provided technical and practical support to the Office of National Security (ONS), donating computers, generators, rain gear, printers, stationery, communication cards and furniture that enabled first responders in the immediate rescue efforts of emergency coordination centers.

    The National Security Coordinator at the ONS, Mr. Ismail S T Tarawali commended UNDP for its timely support to ONS, and highlighted past and present support efforts, including strengthening the capacity of the Disaster Management Department in the ONS, through the UNDP supported and Global Environment Facility funded “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Project”:

    “UNDP has always been a dependable partner in supporting technically and logistically over the years. In post-conflict times, national security times and our response to natural and manmade disasters.”

    In addition to practical support, UNDP with the World Bank have been designated as co-leads in national recovery efforts.

    What now?

    With the World Bank, UNDP aim to ensure disaster risk mitigation in the event of future floods and landslides.

    In this direction, the World Bank and UNDP are currently supporting the review of a hazard profile of Sierra Leone, with the World Bank effort focusing on Freetown, Makeni and Bo. UNDP is also supporting the development of a website and an online Climate Information, Disaster Management and Early Warning Systems (CIDMEWS) web portal. Once fully developed, access to real-time and improved climate information will be readily available, including early warnings to end-users and disaster-prone communities. The website and CIDMEWS web portal will be launched in the coming weeks.

    Additionally, UNDP is supporting the strengthening of legal frameworks that reinforce early warning systems, as well as the establishment of public and private partnerships for the dissemination of climate information.

    Furthermore, with support from UNDP, 8 staff of the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency have commenced a twelve month medium level meteorological technicians training, at the Regional Meteorological Research and Training Institute, a World Meteorological Organization Training Centre) in Nigeria. This is expected to improve the capacity of the SLMA in weather forecasting and observations, data analysis and communication.

    Providing long-term technical assistance to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL), the government entity mandated to lead the development of an environmental risk assessment and hazard identification, UNDP will welcome a urban risk reduction expert, a debris management specialist, and a short-term geo-technical landslide expert to provide additional support to the EPA-SL team. In addition, the CO has also requested the deployment of a GIS expert through a standby partner.

    Under national leadership, a three-fold Risk Management and Recovery Action Plan will be developed to support Government and partners make evidence-based decisions for the immediate, medium and long-term issues around settlement planning and sustainable urbanizations, as well as outline approaches to address meteorological and environmental challenges, and leverage existing work around hazard assessment for risk-informed decision making nationally.


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    Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Aid agencies hope that these cash transfers mean families will not be forced to take their children out of school or sell their assets in order to ensure they have enough food to eat

    By Kieran Guilbert

    DAKAR, Sept 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Money is being sent via mobile phone to hundreds of families who survived a deadly mudslide on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown last month, the United Nations said on Friday.

    At least 500 people were killed and more than 3,000 left homeless when a mountainside collapsed mid-August in the town of Regent - in one of Africa's deadliest mudslides in decades.

    The mobile cash payments, which are being funded by Britain's aid department, will help about 1,900 households hit by the mudslide to pay for needs from education and food to healthcare, and to enable them to resettle in safer areas.

    "I am pleased that ... we are able to give money directly to those affected so they can decide what is best to meet their immediate needs and take steps to rebuild their lives," said Guy Warrington, the British high commissioner in Sierra Leone.

    The U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) has given mobile phones to the heads of households so they can receive their payments - which will total about $200 (150 pounds) over three months.

    Those who choose to resettle elsewhere will receive an additional payment of $300 (220 pounds) and food vouchers from the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), according to U.N. agencies.

    Aid agencies hope that these cash transfers mean families will not be forced to take their children out of school or sell their assets in order to ensure they have enough food to eat.

    The WFP said it is distributing rations of rice, beans, vegetable oil and salt to the affected households.

    "Families have suffered, lives have been lost and property destroyed through these unprecedented disasters," said Hamid El Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF's representative in Sierra Leone.

    "The cash transfers could be a great relief ... as they will provide a lifeline," Ibrahim said in a statement.

    The country of 6 million people is one of the poorest in the world and was ravaged by West Africa's 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, which killed about 4,000 people in the former British colony.

    (1 British pound = $1.3565)

    (Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)


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