Sierra Leone: Responding to the Landslides

FloodsDisastersSierra Leone

Photos: Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo    

Tearfund’s Country Representative in Sierra Leone speaks of the destruction he has witnessed, following the terrible flooding and landslides – as well as ‘a great outpouring of love’ in the affected areas.

Tearfund is currently working closely with its local partners in Sierra Leone to plan a response to this week’s deadly landslides, which have killed hundreds, possibly thousands of people.    

Heavy rainfall caused severe flooding and significant landslides around Regent, a mountainous town 15 miles east of Freetown. 312 people are reported to have died with several thousand still missing. At least 2,000 people have lost their homes.   

Widespread destruction    

Gaston Slanwa, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Sierra Leone, has spoken about the flooding; ‘I drove around Freetown yesterday and saw several houses had disappeared, roads had completely gone. On one bridge I saw two people who were already dead being pulled out of the water then put in the ambulance right before my eyes.

Collapsed building and mudslide

‘In just one of the church communities we work through, 60 people have died and 300 have lost their homes. We are working closely with all our partners 24/7 to understand how we can best support them. We are also liaising with the government and other agencies to carry out assessments of the major needs and coordinate our response.     

‘An outpouring of love’    

‘We have seen a great outpouring of love. Hundreds of people have welcomed those fleeing the landslide into their own houses. We are looking at opening schools and church buildings to help those who are now homeless. Our priority will be to ensure people are adequately cared for, with food, clean water, mattresses, blankets, clothing and medication.

‘We have seen a great outpouring of love. Hundreds of people have welcomed those fleeing the landslide into their own houses.'

Gaston Slanwa, Tearfund Country Representative for Sierra Leone

‘Please pray for God’s comfort for the hundreds of families affected, for our church partners who are working tirelessly to help local community members and for improved access to allow us to reach those are cut off and in desperate need.'     

This is thought to be the worst flooding in Africa for the last two decades. Further heavy rainfall is forecast for the coming days. A national emergency has been called in Sierra Leone.     

Tearfund has been working in Sierra Leone since 1990. We are currently liaising with our partners to assess the most urgent needs and plan how best to respond.     

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