On14 August 2017 at around 6am, mudslides triggered by extraordinary rainfall caused mudslides near Freetown in Sierra Leone. Sugar Loaf mountain partly collapsed devastating settlements in Regent, and similar events affected communities around Lumley. Rivers of mud flooded and destroyed makeshift homes and drowned hundreds of people.
President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of emergency and requested assistance. Within a couple of days, it was clear that 500 people had been killed, but a further 600 were missing presumed dead. 3,000 people were made homeless and 900 homes were damaged or destroyed. The displaced were taken to temporary shelters in Regent, Juba, Kaningo, Lumley, Mountain Cut and other nearby settlements.
Humanity First in Sierra Leone, which had responded at scale to the Ebola crisis a couple of years ago assisting over 250,000 people, immediately sent a small team led by our Chairman Sidikie Sankoh to assess the damage in the affected areas on the day of the disaster.
Since then, HF teams of up to 20 local volunteers have been distributing aid to displaced families. Working with Elenorah Jokomie Metzger, the Head of Regent village, HF has been able to identify the most vulnerable families, and distributed food aid and clothing to over 609 people so far. The food packs consist of rice, cooking oil, seasoning, onions, sugar and salt. HF is also looking into hygiene requirements, and will continue to support those in need in the coming weeks.