SIERRA LEONE: Don Bosco Fambul Provides Aid Following Flood, Mudslides; Salesian Missions Sends Emergency Food Aid
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with Don Bosco Fambul, one of Sierra Leone’s leading child-welfare organizations in Freetown, have been actively responding with relief efforts for those affected by recent flooding that occurred on Aug. 14. Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, lies between the mountains and the sea. The intense rain caused a mudslide on Mount Sugar Loaf in the Regent District on the outskirts of Freetown. The mudslide occurred at 6 a.m. when most of the community residents were still sleeping—leaving them more vulnerable to the rising waters.
The Washington Post and other sources on the ground report that upwards of 500 people have died and more than 600 are still missing. More than 3,000 people have been impacted by the flooding with homes washed away and many losing everything. Because Salesian missionaries are living in the communities they serve, they were among the first to respond with shelter, aid and coordination for relief efforts going forward.
“The situation was total chaos as Sierra Leone is not ready for these emergencies and the government is overwhelmed. There are just a handful of machines to remove the earth and mud so rescue work is done by hand,” says Father Jorge Crisafulli, director of Don Bosco Fambul.
“As each day passes, we gain a clearer perspective on what is required, but even now it is clear that there is a need for medication, clothing and food. These are the basic necessities for the care of the children in this first phase of the emergency.”
Don Bosco Fambul has already started to care for children who have lost their families. Right now, the Salesian organization has 260 children in its care who have either lost their families or who have been separated from them and unable to reach them. Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesian of Don Bosco, has sent emergency food aid from Feed My Starving Children to help address the need for food for additional children at the organization.
Salesian missionaries are also helping other survivors of the flooding. Women and other youth have accessed the program. Don Bosco Fambul will be accommodating 81 mothers with their children who have lost their homes due to the flooding. The government has asked Don Bosco Fambul to accommodate the displaced for two months to allow them to find a permanent solution for the homeless. Salesian missionaries are also helping those who have been injured because of the flooding. One boy who is being cared for by Don Bosco Fambul was so severely injured he had to have his foot amputated.
Fr. Crisafulli notes that the organization will continue to assess the ongoing situation and determine what relief efforts will be needed in the upcoming weeks and months to help orphaned children and families recover and rebuild from these devastating floods.
Don Bosco Fambul has been operating in Freetown since 2001, when it launched its work with child soldiers. Today, the organization offers food, clothing, crisis intervention services, shelter, educational opportunities, long-term counseling and family reunification. The organization was on the forefront of efforts to help prevent Ebola in communities throughout Sierra Leone and provide care for children left orphaned by the deadly epidemic. Don Bosco Fambul received Sierra Leone’s Presidential Award in recognition of its contribution in fighting Ebola.
Washington Post – Hospital officials: Nearly 500 dead in Sierra Leone mudslides