Description of the disaster
On 1st August 2019, floods and landslides in Freetown, Capital of Sierra Leone, were triggered by heavy and continuous downpour. The raging floods resulted in the destruction of houses and road networks, and the livelihoods of approximately 896 households (5,381 people), according to the results of the rapid needs assessment (RNA) conducted by the Office of National Security (ONS) in collaboration with other humanitarian actors in disaster management.
Indeed, this episode of floods came after persistent torrential rains from late May 2019 to August 2019, with the highest recorded incident being on 1st to 2nd August 2019. The Office of National Security confirmed that the floods had claimed six (6) lives and that more people, especially lactating mothers, pregnant women and children, were likely to face the risks of illness from water-borne diseases. Owing to stagnant pools of water and temporary rain created ponds there were significant increases in mosquito infestation and the rise of malarial infection. This was a potential threat to people, especially those living in the most affected communities. The abundance of contaminated water with limited WASH facilities meant communities were exposed to diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. In addition, the floods undermined the livelihood capacity of people in the affected communities as it destroyed food crops as well as submerged agricultural production resulting in increased malnutrition especially for children under five years of age. Based on this background, there was a need for a multi-stage response, linking relief and recovery interventions for the affected populations. It was on account of this situation that Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and its Movement partners including IFRC, British Red Cross and Finnish Red Cross exerted efforts and embarked on various response and recovery activities.