About Sierra Leone
The Ebola epidemic ravaged Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2015. It caused the deaths of over 11,300 people and infected over 28,600 more. Ebola also contributed to a plummet in GDP – this in a nation ranked as the eighth poorest in the world by the UN. Since the epidemic officially ended, the economy has begun a slow upturn. The hope is that this desperately-needed recovery will continue.
Since 2002, Sierra Leone has remained peaceful. However, this is a fragile peace. Youth unemployment, widening political and ethnic divisions, and the little benefit much of the population has seen from the recovery, all threaten stability.
Mortality rates for both children and mothers are among the world’s highest. This is due to a number of factors including basic poverty, a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, poor nutrition, limited access to quality healthcare, and the prevalence of female genital cutting (FGMC).
On 14 August, 2017, Freetown (the capital) was struck by a major flood and mudslide disaster that killed over 500 people and left thousands of homes buried. This highlighted Sierra Leone’s vulnerability, and it is now rated by the UN as among the highest at-risk countries for natural disasters in the world.