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Handicap International helps victims as death toll from Freetown mudslides rises

Emergency
Sierra Leone

At least 500 people were killed by floods and landslides that hit the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, on Monday 14th August. A further 800 people have been reported missing. Handicap International (HI) and our partners in the region have launched an emergency response to support people in need.

A district of Freetown affected by the mudslides

A district of Freetown affected by the mudslides. | © Handicap International

The scale and trauma of the disaster in Sierra Leone is becoming clear. At least 6,000 Freetown residents have been directly affected and more than 150 children are amongst the dead.

Immediately following the disaster, HI sent a team to help identify and record casualties and to develop an emergency response plan.

As part of this response, HI is now coordinating the provision of psychological first-aid to people who have lost their homes and loved ones, as well as physical rehabilitation for those injured.

HI teams are training groups responding to the disaster to help them identify vulnerable people who may need specific assistance. We know that people with disabilities, older people and other marginalised groups can face difficulties in the days and weeks following a crisis. This can include difficulties accessing humanitarian assistance - food, water and shelter.

HI is currently evaluating the immediate and longer-term needs of 400 of the worst affected households. It may be necessary to provide support with school materials and fees to ensure that children do not drop out of school, or to take additional measures to protect vulnerable orphans and young women from the risk of exploitation and abuse.

HI’s emergency activities will be in place until October 2017 in the first instance.

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