Sierra Leone: Red Cross appeals for global support

19 August, 2017, 08:06 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Mass Burials Begin in Sierra Leone After Massive Mudslides

Rescue officials in Sierra Leone warned Friday that the chances of finding survivors in the debris of this week's mudslides "are getting smaller every day", as bereaved and homeless survivors faced the magnitude of all they have lost.

Following the deadly mudslide and floods that have caused hundreds of casualties in Sierra Leone and displaced around 1100 households, the European Union has released an initial amount of emergency humanitarian assistance of €300,000 (Le2,520,000,000) for the most vulnerable families affected by this disaster.

The death toll is expected to rise after mudslides and floodwaters in and around the capital this week killed hundreds of people, many of whom were trapped as they slept.

The IFRC chief told reporters in Geneva that "what they are facing today is way beyond the capacity of the government alone".

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Millions of people in the nation of 7.4 million people live in dangerously vulnerable homes due to a lack of regulation and insufficient consideration for minimum standards and environmental laws, according to the Amnesty report.

Over 300 people were killed by floods and mudslides in Sierra Leone, and criticism of government inaction over deforestation and poor urban planning have mounted.

Further landslides are possible and the government may have to evacuate some areas, the United Nations humanitarian aid coordination agency said in a statement on Thursday.

"The appeal will allow us to scale-up and sustain our operations", said Mr Sy.

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The Red Cross estimates that some 600 people are still missing.

UNICEF called the scale of damage from the mudslides "unprecedented" and said its teams have been providing safe drinking water and sanitation to the large number of children affected by the disaster. An unofficial morgue toll had previously put the toll at around 400 dead, but the figure had not been officially confirmed. Some critics accuse the government of not learning from past disasters. The capital also is plagued by unregulated construction in hilltop areas.

"We pray that God will rest the souls of the departed in peace; that he will comfort the bereaved; and that he will grant the people of Sierra Leone the strength they will need to get through this hard time", Kenyatta said.

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