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UK and CAFOD respond to Sierra Leone devestation

SURVEYING THE DAMAGE: Sierra Leon's President Ernest Bai Koroma, second from left, inspecting damage left by the mudslide (image credit: AFP)

PRESIDENT ERNEST Bai Koroma has urged fellow world leaders and aid agencies to help Sierra Leone overcome the effects of what is thought to be one of the worst natural disasters Africa has seen for over 20 years.

The country has declared a state of national emergency after news of a fatal mudslide hit the headlines on Tuesday (August 14). The mudslide has ravaged and sunk homes, leaving hundreds of dead bodies in its wake and rendered almost 1000 people missing and a further 3000 homeless.

The president told international media that the devastation “was overwhelming us”. He went on to say:

“Entire communities have been wiped out. We need urgent support now.”

Among those who have responded are the UK's International Development Secretary, Priti Patel:

“We have pre-positioned vital aid supplies and helped prepare the country’s response to disasters. We are already working with the government of Sierra Leone to coordinate the rescue ‎efforts and are ready to provide further assistance to those in need.”

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) are on the ground in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital and have released a statement detailing the conditions there. Kayode Akintola, CAFOD’s Country Representative said:

“Things are really bad on the ground. Just a few minutes’ walk from our office a bridge has been submerged. There are dead bodies in the water and littering some of the streets, and houses are still under water.

“We are working with our local partners to assess what support we can provide. We are carrying out assessments in various areas affected by the flood and working closely with other agencies to coordinate relief response efforts.

“The immediate need of people affected are water and food, meanwhile thousands of families who have lost their homes need shelter, and there are also serious health concerns.

“Our prayers are with those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

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