FREETOWN MUDSLIDE: ONE YEAR ON
Today marks one year on from the devastating flooding and mudslides in Freetown.
On Monday August 14, 2017 an estimated 1,000 people died when an entire mountainside collapsed in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Huge boulders, dislodged by rain, left a two-mile trail of destruction – flattening everything in its path. Street Child was one of the first major agencies to assist survivors, thanks to a generously supported emergency fundraiser.
We redeployed our staff to distribute over 87,000 food packages, 5,000 packs of clothing, and over 3,000 toiletry packs. The immediate response is only half the story, however. The mudslide and flooding in Freetown had a huge long-term impact – livelihoods were destroyed and children were left out of school. Stories like Hawa Kamara’s are far too common.
Hawa had been a successful trader selling rice and fish and supporting her children’s schooling. Sadly, the flooding took away Hawa’s husband, one of her children, her home, and her business. In February this year, Street Child surveyed those impacted to check in on progress. In our ‘Six Months On’ report we highlighted that 41% of households still had no opportunity to earn income, and 49% of households had at least one out-of-school child.
In response, we launched a program to support 450 families like Hawa’s to set up a small business, and provide 1,400 children with the education materials they need to return to school. Distribution of these grants will begin next month, after the rains. In addition, we are now in the process of building two new schools to replace those rendered unsafe by the disaster, so even more impacted children can access the school they deserve.