Sierra Leone: Survivors face trauma and lack of shelter in wake of recovery from mudslides

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GENEVA, Switzerland, August 30, 2017/APO/ — “Survivors of Sierra Leone’s devastating mudslides continue to struggle with trauma and the lack of shelter as they try to recover from the disaster that buried nearly 500 people more than two weeks ago,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Regional Director for Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), on her return from a visit to Freetown’s worst affected communities.

The situation of survivors is heart-breaking,” she continued. “These people face an arduous road to recovery while coping with the double burden of losing loved ones and rebuilding their lives from scratch.”

While bodies continue to be unearthed from hardest hit areas, more than 1600 families require urgent shelter, in addition to longer term recovery support.

Over 100 Sierra Leone Red Cross volunteers staff have been at the forefront of the mudslide response carrying out search and rescue operations.

Many of these volunteers also provided support to communities during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, during which they led safe burial programmes to prevent further spread of the disease.

“The affected communities are getting a combination of psycho-social support, health and hygiene information, and shelter and sanitation items which are the many skills that volunteers learned during the during the Ebola outbreak,” said Dr Nafo-Traoré. “It helps the survivors to speak of their trauma to volunteers who have had prior experience and who can understand their pain and suffering.” she explained.

The IFRC has appealed for 4.6 million Swiss francs for the long-term recovery of 4,600 people with shelter, safe water, food and re-establishing proper sanitation to avoid any risk of disease spreading.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).