Freetown, Sierra Leone – IsraAID staff in Sierra Leone will support displaced flood survivors with food and essential items, clean water and sanitation solutions and psychological assistance and stress relief.
Incessant rainfall on Sunday night and Monday left the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown in a state of emergency. Torrents of water rushed through the city in the early hours of Monday, sweeping up entire homes, creating mudslides and leaving massive destruction in its wake. Over 300 people have lost their lives after the heavy rains deluged the city’s inadequate drainage system. The government of Sierra Leone is calling this the most devastating floods the capital has experienced.
“People are overwhelmed by the enormity of the disaster,” said Andra Weissberger, IsraAID’s Country Director in Sierra Leone; “bodies were carried through the streets in the rushing water. Our staff was helping retrieve them so that the Red Cross could come and collect them. Many of the bodies recovered were severed, leaving it difficult to give an accurate picture of the death toll.”
Other testimonials include a man volunteering at a dig site; he noted how he found a woman holding two small children in her arms and a man right next to her. “Even in the mud, she was protecting her children.”
This disaster has overwhelmingly affected the most impoverished in Freetown, an already vulnerable population. Those in the path of the flooding reside in makeshift settlements that are unable to support the fast-moving water and mud as it overwhelms the area. An estimated 2,500 people have been left homeless and are at high risk of a Cholera outbreak.
IsraAID's support to Sierra Leone is done in partnership with AJC and the Israeli Embassy.
IsraAID in Sierra Leone:
IsraAID has been working in Sierra Leone since 2014, when the organization sent professionals to support the Ebola epidemic survivors. Since then, IsraAID has helped train many local professionals in psychological assistance, stress relief, and self-care.
IsraAID is a leading humanitarian non-governmental organization, committed to providing life-saving emergency relief and durable solutions for populations affected by natural disasters, epidemics, and post-conflict situations. Since its inception in 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, search and rescue units, post trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses in natural disasters and civil strife around the world. After the initial emergency period, IsraAID shifts to long-term programs, all to accompany communities and governments as they strive to build a better tomorrow. As of 2017, IsraAID has responded to crises in 41 countries, and has on-going programs in 17 countries. IsraAID has a roster of 1100 specialists, of which over 300 are PSS experts and is ready to deploy its team immediately for the response of an emergency.