Sierra Leone: Flash Update OCHA West & Central Africa, 15 August 2017
Torrential rains have led to a series of significant floods and mudslides on 14 August in several areas of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Emergency support is being provided for the two different types of responses: floods and mudslides.
According to Freetown Mayor, rescue workers have recovered 270 bodies so far, mainly from the Regent neighborhood where the mudslide happened. As rescue operations are still ongoing, the death toll is expected to rise.
Sierra Leone’s Office of National Security (ONS) estimates that more than 3,000 people have lost their homes.
The Government is currently evaluating the needs of Internally Displaced Persons but is currently requesting affected people to evacuate and stay with relatives
Heavy rains fell in the area last night and rescue efforts are on-going. However, rescue teams lack the right equipment and are facing difficult conditions with large amounts of mud and debris.
ONS has recommended the voluntary evacuation of several disaster-prone areas as floodwaters continue to damage infrastructure and homes.
Communication lines and electricity have been disrupted in some parts of the capital, and extensive damage to roads, infrastructure and houses is also expected.
In 2015 floods and torrential rains made over 9,000 people temporarily homeless in Freetown but this year’s disaster is unprecedented by the number of people killed in the mudslide.
The Disaster Management Department of the Office of National Security oversees the overall coordination and response, with military and police involved in rescue operations in affected areas.
The Red Cross of Sierra Leone has deployed three rescue teams and eleven vehicles in support of the Government with support from IFRC.
Resident Coordinator Sunil Saigal has designated WFP Country Director Housainou Taal as the Incident Coordinator for the UN system. OCHA’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa has been liaising closely with the RC’s Office to provide any support required, including on reporting, mapping and needs assessments, and remains on standby should any surge support be requested.
Several NGOs and bilateral partners are also involved, including Save The Children, Caritas,
DFID, Israid, and MSF.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.