Mudslide and Flooding in Sierra Leone: Save the Children Response

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Mudslide and Flooding in Sierra Leone: Save the Children Response

By Jeremiah Sawyerr

Save the Children (SCI) in Sierra Leone is supporting government, namely the Office of National Security (ONS) and Ministry of Social Welfare gender and Children’s Affairs to coordinate relief response following the impacts of the mudslide and that occurred on 14 August, 2017.

Borry Jatta, Director of Operations, Emergency Coordinator from Save the Children is providing technical support to ONS to strengthen coordination of the emergency response, while other teams such as child protection, education and advocacy support pillars  such as the psychosocial pillar and communication and social mobilization pillar in reaching affected communities with support and information for survival and protection

A key member of national emergency structure

As part of this process SCI is participating in high level daily meetings at the ONS, which civil society partners, UN agencies, international media and members of the diplomatic core attend. Seen as a key partner with technical expertise in children, Save the Children is one of the key partners providing technical inputs in the policy meetings providing technical guidance on policy decisions for the emergency response.

Training partners and supporting communities

Hosting a Psychological First Aid (PFA) refresher training for non-governmental organizations, Save the Children trained partners  on basic skills to provide basic PFA services, assessments, and initial referrals for affected children and families at the six worst-hit communities. Save the Children also provided staff to join the multi-agency teams that go out to the six sites each day to provide PFA services and report their activities and observations, while one vehicle have been provided to facilitate movement of this team and other civil society to these sites on a daily basis.  SCI staff provides technical support to the Child-Friendly space managed by UNICEF and other child protection services in Regent through training and daily support.

Distribution of WASH items to affected communities

WASH items have been distributed directly to affected families such as Culvert a slum community affected by flooding in the east end of Freetown.  960 sanitary pads, 1,600 powered soaps, 1,600 bathing soap,  320 buckets with lid and tap (20 litre), 320 jerry cans, 360 plastic kettles and 320 bowl (20 litre) were given to displaced families. As members of the Freetown WASH Consortium, SCI also distributed community cleaning kits to Oxfam, Action Against Hunger and Concern Worldwide for further distribution to affected victims in other hard hit communities. Funding for these WASH items is being provided by the Department for International Development (DFID) to the WASH consortium.

In addition, the WASH team has also conducted WASH needs assessment at holding centers and affected communities to undertake the following activities below contingent on funding.

  • Donation of toilet cleaning items to 1500 households
  • Rehabilitation of water points
  • Hygiene promotion at community level
  • Rehabilitation/construction of latrines
  • Construction of hand washing station/bathing space
  • Drainage cleaning campaign in affected communities
  • Refresher training of disaster management volunteers to conduct community sensitization on early warning signs

SCI is grateful to the Save the children members from UK, US and Korea and other donors for the donations given in response to general appeals to support SCI response in Sierra Leone.

A survivor receives WASH items at distribution site at Culvert community

Save distributes WASH items to Culvert community