The following report summarizes the relief activities of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in response to the Susan’s Bay fire incident in Freetown, Sierra Leone, last Wednesday.
On the evening of March 24, an unexpected huge fire swallowed more than 500 houses in one of the most crowded and poorest slums in Freetown, Susan’s Bay, causing more than 1,597 households or 7,093 persons affected, and 409 persons injured (as of March 30). Among those, children, lactating mothers, pregnant women, elderly, and disabled persons are the most affected and in desperate need of assistance including food, water, shelter, and clothes.
Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s (BTCF) local partner, Caritas Freetown, has been placed into the working clusters of the disaster management team along with the government authorities and other non-governmental organizations to lead the registration and relief support. On top of that, BTCF made commitments to support food and non-food items including rice, blanket, water, and clothes and has organized hot-meal distributions on the site for more than 2,000 affected persons, in collaboration with its long-term partners including Caritas Freetown, Healey International Relief Foundation, and Lanyi Foundation, as well as Red Cross volunteers.
Gathering the volunteers from the local community, BTCF and its partners set up seven relief stations to cook and provide hot rice and dishes to the affected persons to ensure they have sufficient food after the devastating fire. The hot-meal distribution was planned to be held for 21 days on the site.
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