Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Supports the Feeding of Sierra Leone Landslide and Flood Survivors
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassion Relief Foundation, which has been active in providing humanitarian support to vulnerable Sierra Leoneans since the outbreak of the 2014 Ebola virus in West Africa, responded with compassionate care to survivors of the August 14 deadly flooding and landslide that left hundreds of people dead and missing. In partnership with our local partners, Healey International Relief Foundation, Caritas Freetown and Lanyi Foundation, Tzu Chi volunteers visited affected communities the same day the incident occurred and remain committed to providing life-transforming support to survivors. Tzu Chi volunteers and partners completed assessment of needs to better understand what is needed, how to provide support to those who need it most, and work in line with the Government of Sierra Leone. Some of the needs assessed are food, housing, blankets, bedding, clothes, shoes, medicines etc.
In boosting the government initiatives, Tzu Chi Foundation teamed up with the abovementioned local partners to provide hot meals to flood survivors in Regent, Cline Town, Lumley, and Hill Station Relocation Camp. Even though Regent was the most affected community due to the large loss of lives and properties, many other communities were affected but receive minimal or no support, especially the Culvert Community in Cline Town. Hence, Tzu Chi carefully assessed the gaps and provided support to help affected persons and communities recover quicker. Tzu Chi developed and coordinated hot meal programs with local partners, providing delicious hot meals to more than 50,000 survivors from August 19 to 31 in Regent, Lumley and Cline Town. In addition, Tzu Chi provided hot meals to about 6,000 survivors who are now living at the Hill Station temporary shelters since August 29.
The meals provided include cooked rice from Tzu Chi Taiwan, with local vegetables and soup sauce, which local volunteers spend hours preparing with love and compassion. Survivors who benefited from the Tzu Chi and partners feeding program expressed gratitude and commended the deliciousness of the food. Many survivors shed tears of joy for the food and love they received from Tzu Chi volunteers and extended their sincere gratitude to the founder of the foundation, Dharma Master Cheng Yen and the entire Tzu Chi family worldwide. In response to the survivors’ request and show of commitment to continue providing support, Tzu Chi volunteers from Taiwan, USA, France, and Spain will be visiting Sierra Leone this September to boost support to survivors by continuing feeding program and distribute blankets, dishes, and pots.
Tzu Chi Foundation is also committed to contributing sustainable initiatives to help survivors rebuild their lives and recover healthily from their unfortunate conditions. Some of the long-term plans include providing relocation assistance and even the building of permanent housing structures. Also, Tzu Chi Foundation will launch a climate change education to sensitize people to take better care of their communities by planting trees and doing away with deforestation and avoiding disaster prone areas to save lives and properties. Tzu Chi Foundation seeks partnership with any groups interested in addressing climate change in Sierra Leone.
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