United Methodist Committee on Relief

Responding to Mudslides in Sierra Leone

On August 14, 2017, weeks of heavy rains triggered a catastrophic mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone. At least 1,000 people died and 7,000 lost their homes and loved ones. In immediate response, UMCOR awarded a $10,000 grant to The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone to for an initial assessment of need and for emergency provision of food.

Today, UMCOR is working with a regional supplier to provide tents, water filters, and water containers to those living in temporary settlements. UMCOR will also be airlifting hygiene kits and bedding supplies to internally displaced persons.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Housing: The government of Sierra Leone has established two temporary living settlements for the survivors of the mudslide who are now displaced. The tents being used at these temporary settlements are unsafe and insecure because there are no doors to safeguard occupants. The living space is inadequate as at least three families live in one tent. Overcrowded living conditions and inadequate water and sanitation facilities increase the chances of a cholera outbreak and other communicable diseases by 80 percent.

Food and Non-Food Items: The supply of food and non-food items is ongoing with the help of various organizations. 

In Juba, a camp for internally displaced persons, most of the items donated by partner organization do not benefit lactating mothers or children (under the age of five). Items like diapers and baby food are scarce. There is a high probability for malnutrition among children living in camps like Juba.

Emergency Medical Services: The United Methodist Church has established two epicenters for emergency treatments at the Pentagon and Kamayama communities. To provide services more effectively, The United Methodist Church collaborated with the Catholic Mission for one month. Survivors have been relocated to Juba, but there are still challenges as no organizations are providing medical services for the camp.

Children: Schools have reopened in the area, however, many children have not been able to go back to school because of lack of access to reopened schools. There is also an inadequate supply of school materials.

UMCOR Support: UMCOR provided funds for an initial assessment of need and for emergency provision of food. UMCOR will be airlifting hygiene kits and bedding supplies. UMCOR is working with a regional supplier to provide more secure tents, improved water filters, and water containers. UMCOR has received a completed grant application, which once approved, will provide more food rations, non-food items, and emergency medication. Like any other disaster, it will be a long journey towards recovery, but UMCOR is committed to the long haul. 

Read the press release.

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