Tzu Chi Follows Up on Commitment to Provide Sierra Leone Flood and Mudslide Survivors Rice and Hope
It has been more than half a year since Mount Sugarloaf collapsed in Regent, Sierra Leone, killing at least one thousand people and leaving thousands homeless and in tears. The world mourned with Sierra Leone as the people of that nation suffered yet another calamity after experiencing war, Ebola, and ongoing poverty. Like many other humanitarian organizations, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation with its partners, Healey International Relief Foundation, Caritas Freetown and Lanyi Foundation responded with needed emergency relief, including food support, blankets and psychosocial support.
Before the closing of temporary shelters, Tzu Chi made a commitment to the survivors and Sierra Leone to follow up with more support in 2018. From February 12 to 16, Tzu Chi volunteers and local partners distributed rice to the August 14 mudslide survivors for their daily sustenance.
Not knowing the whereabouts of the mudslide survivors to inform them of the distributions, Tzu Chi and partners made a public announcement on local radio stations and urged the public to disseminate the information by word of mouth. Beneficiaries were required to present the Government issued Mudslide survivor identification for verification. A database from the Office of National Security (ONS) used to verify principals of households and their number of beneficiaries.
All households received 10 kg for each member of their household as recorded by ONS. There were hundreds of beneficiaries with Government issued identification cards but not listed in the ONS database. All persons who presented authentic Government issued identification cards benefited accordingly.
The distributions at the Caritas Headquarters in the St. Edward’s Compound, Kingtom, Freetown, benefited thousands of mudslide survivors and renewed hope for the many who thought the world has forgotten them. The head of households were close to 3,000, benefiting well more than 10,000 persons. The beneficiaries comprised of six communities: Dwazark, Lumley, Culvert, Kamayama, Kaningo, and Regent. In all, over 100,000 kg of rice distributed to mudslide survivors.
Beneficiaries thanked Dharma Master Cheng Yen and the entire Tzu Chi Family and local partners, Caritas Freetown, Healey International Relief Foundation and Lanyi Foundation for their kind support. The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation committed yet again to providing mudslide and flood survivors with additional support by midyear.