This update is produced by the UNDAC team in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sierra Leone, liaising with the Office of National Security and humanitarian partners.
New flooding appeared on the night between Saturday and Sunday 26/27 August in downtown Freetown, and has flooded a health centre, the bridge and a school at Kroo Bay. One person is reported dead and two injured. The WHO team has assessed the damage to Kroo Bay Health Facility where flooding waters destroyed health records, drugs and supplies, mosquito net stock piles and medical equipment. WHO and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is working to meet immediate health needs in the community including replenishment of supplies and redirection of services. Mental health nurses provide psychosocial support including trauma counselling and referrals in all affected areas. Enhanced surveillance is ongoing for key priority diseases.
Two temporary sites have been set up to relocate the most vulnerable people affected by landslide and flash floods; Old Skool at Hill Station has a planned capacity of 100? households, and Juba Barracks a facility to house at least 50 households by tents. The numbers may alter after the end of the verification process.
The verification of registered affected persons led by Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs took place on 26-27-28 August with support from several humanitarian partners. A total of 1,424 households were verified and/or newly registered bringing the total of directly affected people to 5,962 including 904 children under 5 years and 113 pregnant women. The verification process also included questions on the impact of the disaster. 78% of households reported the death of family member in Regent community (compared to 2% in Juba for instance). 47% had their house destroyed and 89% are eager to be relocated, mainly to a rented place in Freetown (49%) or a shelter/site (27%).
A cash transfer programme with two proposed packages (for those in sites and for those willing to rent or in host families) was presented to partners at the ONS meeting on 28 August. However, the Cabinet asked ONS and partners to consider also other options and to include cash transfers in a more comprehensive programme aiming at longer term solutions.
A survey done by the Ministry of Water Resources and Care International in greater Freetown flooded communities, shows that there is an alarming contamination of faecal coliforms in water sources and actively used community wells. Thus, the risk of disease outbreaks remains high due to the seasonal flooding of wells and latrines, proliferation of mosquitoes, and overcrowded and suboptimal living conditions. WHO is supporting local authorities to heighten surveillance and preparedness for malaria, waterborne diseases and other potential outbreaks.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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