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Actualité

Sierra Leone Mudslide Support

The World woke up on Monday, August 14, 2017 to the sad news of a devastating mudslide which killed hundreds of people and rendered thousands of people homeless on the outskirts of Freetown. As soon as they are informed, the management of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to bring their supports to the government of Sierra Leone.

The West African Health Organization (WAHO), in his line with its mandate as the Specialized Institution of ECOWAS responsible for health issues in the sub-region, is providing support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone.

Below is what ECOWAS is doing in the wake of the devastating mudslide :

-  The President of the ECOWAS Commission is already in Freetown meeting with the authorities. The Commission is donating 200,000 USD. The decision was arrived at yesterday when he met with the President of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe who is the current chair of ECOWAS.
-  WAHO has contacted RED CROSS in Sierra Leone to deploy their first aid workers which WAHO is paying for.
-  A team of WAHO will be in Freetown on August 17 to assess the situation. A donation of 100,000 USD to the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation ; a sum to be used to support victims and also to help prevent any epidemic that could occur, as a result of the incident.
-  After consultation with WAHO, Cote d’Ivoire is sending a plane full of drugs and medical equipment.
-  WAHO is in constant touch with the Sierra Leone authorities and after the needs assessments, the Government of Sierra Leone will put in requests for more support.

Update as at August 17, 2017

The Togolese president who is the chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe was in Freetown together with the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, the Deputy Director of WAHO, Dr Laurent Assogba and a team of ECOWAS/WAHO to lend support.

The ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS institutions altogether donated a total of 400,000 USD, as a first gesture. The breakdown is as follows :
-  ECOWAS Commission donated 200,000 USD
-  WAHO donated 100,000 USD.
-  The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development also donated 100,000 USD.

The Togolese president Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe donated 500,000 USD and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall also donated 100,000 USD.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission had a briefing session at Lungi International Airport with the Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs. Florence Iheme and the Deputy Director General (DDG) of WAHO, Dr Laurent Assogba, where he charged them to extend his sincere condolences and sympathies to the Minister of Heath and Sanitation of Sierra Leone and to assure him of the community’s commitment to support.

President Faure (l) giving the cheque to President Koroma of Sierra Leone (r)
The President of the ECOWAS Commission (l) giving one of the three cheques to President Koroma of Sierra Leone (r)

Update as at August 18, 2017

On August 18, 2017, a joint delegation of the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah.

The delegation was made up of the Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs. Florence Iheme, the Deputy Director General (DDG) of WAHO, Dr Laurent Assogba, the WAHO Liaison Officer, Mr. Yayah Conteh and WAHO Communication Specialist, Mr. Harvey de Hardt-Kaffils.

The purpose was to present the ECOWAS community condolences and sympathies in the wake of the deadly mudslide that took several lives and rendered thousands homeless. The meeting was to The DDG of WAHO also used the opportunity to hand-deliver the letter of transfer of the 100,000 USD donation made by WAHO.

The DDG of WAHO (r) handing over the transfer letter to the Minister of Health and Sanitation (l)

The Minister full of emotion, thanked WAHO and the ECOWAS Commission for the kind gesture and the good coordination being played to rally support for Sierra Leone.

He said the mudslide was a great disaster to have happened to Sierra Leone, worse than Ebola in terms of lives lost within a short period of time.

According to the Minister, the true extent of the disaster was not yet known. “It is a disaster of unimaginable proportion. It is a disaster full of sorrowful stories, very pathetic” the Minister lamented.

He expressed gratitude to the show of solidarity in the region. He made special mention of Presidents Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia who were in Freetown personally to commiserate with their counterpart, Ernest Bai Koroma.

He said they are happy and strengthened by “the strong show of regional solidarity, which gives them a sense of belonging” and they are also happy about the offer of the ECOWAS team to assist the Ministry in finalizing the needs assessment and developing the emergency relief plan.

The Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission (l) explaining a point to the Minister

The Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo said the coordination and interventions of the Flood activities in Sierra Leone has been divided to related Ministries and institutions of Government. The Office of the National Security is in charge of the overall coordination and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is responsible for Case Management, IPC, Burial and Nutrition.

He said the urgent need for the ministry is to ensure that the disaster site and surrounding areas are decontaminated so as to avoid any disease outbreak such as cholera. A cholera preparedness plan has been developed and surveillance is being conducted to monitor the situation.

He also said they do not require the presence of the ECOWAS Regional Rapid Response Team for the moment but the team should be on stand-by for possible dispatch.

After the initial technical session, it came out the immediate needs for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation are :
-  General medical supply
-  Cholera prevention kits
-  DNA technology for corpse identification
-  Chlorine kegs (for water purification)
-  Hygiene kits
-  Portable latrines
-  Psychosocial counselors

The ECOWAS’s delegation promised to bring more additional support and indicated that the transparency of the management of the funds will be appreciated by the donors.

The delegation later visited the disaster site.

Done in Freetown, 19th August 2017



 

 

Bulletins
épidemiologique

S44/2017

reconnaissance à l'OOAS