Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 August 2019:
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, has announced that in response to the floods in Freetown earlier this month, the European Union is providing €80,000 in humanitarian funding to assist those most affected.
This EU funding will support the Red Cross in delivering much needed relief assistance, including water, sanitation and health, psychosocial support, and health promotion activities. The humanitarian aid will directly benefit 1,800 people (300 households), who had their homes destroyed in the flooding.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone has experienced persistent torrential rains since late May. The resulting floods damaged houses, road networks and destroyed the livelihoods of approximately 896 households (5,381 people).
According a report by the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone has been experiencing persistent torrential rains from late May 2019 to August 2019.
The highest recorded incident was the August 2nd rainfall causing associated impacts, including flooding in low lying areas as well as new episodes of landslides on low scale in the eastern part of the city.
The main road to the city’s centre was rendered impassable due to the flood waters, heavily constraining vehicles and pedestrians having to find alternative routes. The city continues to experience more rainfall which may cause more flooding and spread to additional communities which would further increase the number of affected people.
The floods and landslides were triggered by a heavy and continuous downpour that was experienced on 1st August 2019 from 10:00pm until the next morning on 2nd August 2019.
The raging floods resulted in substantial destruction of houses, road networks and destroyed 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.
The Office of National Security reported that the floods have already claimed many lives, and more people, especially lactating mothers, pregnant women and children, are likely to face the risks of illness from water-borne diseases.
The International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies’s report says that owing to stagnation of dirt and pool of ponds, it is likely that malaria will be on the increase. This is a potential threat to people, especially those living in the affected communities.
The abundance of contaminated water with limited WASH facilities are a basis for majority people living in the affected communities to be exposed to diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.
In addition, the flood has undermined the livelihood opportunities of people in the affected communities as it destroyed crops as well as submerged food stuff in some of the affected households which consequently result to malnutrition especially for children under five years of age.
Based on this background, there is a need for a multi-stage response, linking relief and recovery interventions for the affected populations.
It is on account of these details that Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and its Movement partners including IFRC, BRC and FRC are exerting efforts to embark on life-saving activities (assistance programme).
SLRCS says it will continue to monitor and assess the flood situation as it evolves, remaining agile for further action to save lives.
But is the 80,000 Euros funding from the EU enough to tackle the impacts of the floods? And what is the government doing to prevent these deadly occurrences in the future?