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Massive flood hits Freetown, Sierra Leone; about 6 dead and thousand more seriously affected and homeless

DAKAR, Senegal – On 2nd August 2019, Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown experienced disastrous flooding. The flooding brought havoc across the city and its environs, leaving scores of people homeless. The torrential downpour also left several people trapped in their vehicles as well as their homes, with little, if any, emergency assistance insight.

The affected families include thousands of people who live in the impoverished slum community of Kroo Bay.

Two people are reported dead in the affected communities. Seven people are reported dead with massive destruction to homes and properties. Severe damage was reported across the city of more than 1 million people, homes, and vehicles.

Also on Tuesday, 6th August 2019, thousands of people were displaced and dozens of houses destroyed along the Freetown peninsula amid a torrential downpour.

flood in Freetown

The fishing village of Tombo borne the brunt of the flooding after five hours of nonstop rain.  Many of the displaced persons had taken shelter in a community school, though the majority preferring to move in with relatives in safer areas.

Kerry Town, famous for hosting an Ebola treatment center during the outbreak, has taken a massive knock with many houses inundated by the force of water near the Peninsula Mountain.

A part of the Craig Bellamy Foundation fence has been brought down. This latest disaster comes at a time that the country is grappling with economic hardship.

The August 14th, 2017 flooding, and landslide in the capital Freetown killed nearly one thousand people, with even more reported missing.

The situation is scary and terrible. Affected communities lost everything—clothes, homes, and other properties. In Culvert and Moeba, some people had their houses washed away.

 Displaced in the capital, Freetown, are hundreds of families and individuals.  The communities and families are urgently in need of food, clothes, medicines, and shelter to cope with the traumatized situation that has befallen them.

Most of the flood victims depend on petty trading for their food and income, have seen their houses and lands destroyed and flooded by torrential rains.

Exposed to severe cold, and other illnesses, the affected families now sleep in school buildings and other public facilities.

 This years, compared to recent years, the difference is that in this year, only, seven people were reported dead – two in Kroobay, three in Bathurst Village and two in Culvert Communities, respectively. The destruction of properties is enormous. The flooding affected new communities that were never affected. Communities such as Tombo, Kerry Town, Brookfields are all affected with dozens of homes washed away as a result of the flooding. School children lost their uniforms, books, and other learning materials. The same for university students, all of whom have been affected, including women.

The entire population in the affected area has a severe need.  The present needs include food, shelter, clothing, sanitary pads for women and girls, toilets, and medication. The affected families and individuals are still dressed up in the same clothes since the flooding. They also need psychosocial support at the moment. However, food shelter, pampers for babies and clothing are the need for now. There is an urgent need for medication for affected pregnant mothers who continue to sleep in the open since the flooding 

Caritas Freetown and the Catholic Development Office in the Archdiocese of Freetown are at the forefront in providing emergency relief services to affected communities. However, supplies and materials are decreasing or unavailable. Hence Caritas Freetown, the lead relief agency servicing the victims and affected communities, is seeking international support and donations to help mitigate the suffering of the affected families and communities.

Caritas Freetown Executive Director, Reverend Father Peter Konteh lauds the excellent partnership and collaboration between Caritas Freetown and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in supporting the emergency response to the flood victims and communities.

Father Konteh also lauded the partnership and cooperation between Caritas Freetown and several international organizations, including Caritas Germany, FIG Tree, Desert Flower Foundation, Boston College. AGEH, HIRF, and the Partnership for humanity.  He also praised the staff of Caritas Freetown and catholic Development Office in Liberia for training the various Emergency Response Team which is tirelessly coordinating essential supplies to vulnerable victims since the flooding.

An emergency supply of food and non-food items remains critical and needed to ease the suffering of the affected families and communities, Father Konteh said.

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