In the early hours of Monday morning, 14 August 2017, a night of torrential rain in Freetown resulted in a massive landslide that swept away homes, and flooded communities further down the valley. Residents woke up to a large gash in Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Regent area.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, with whole families buried under the mud. Around 500 dead bodies have been recovered so far, and at least 3,000 people lost their homes, according to the Office of National Security.
More than 2,600 children have been registered among the affected. UNICEF has worked quickly to establish child friendly spaces at the temporary displacement centres. It has also been supporting the Don Bosco children’s centre where more than 200 affected children are sheltering with tents, blankets, mosquito bed nets, eating utensils and games.
Through support from UK aid from the British people, UNICEF is working to provide clean water and essential medicines for 5,000 people, and will also provide water and counselling for at least 1,500 children.
A key part of our response has been to try to mitigate the increased risks of infections such as diarrhoeal diseases like cholera and typhoid. UNICEF has been providing protection equipment to health workers; water supplies and latrines to affected communities; and handwashing stations, including at the major hospitals.
UNICEF also provided materials for a temporary health post at the Saio temporary displacement centre.
UNICEF’s work has been part of the wider United Nations response to the tragedy, in coordination with the Government of Sierra Leone.