*By Septimus KANU.*
Following the twin flashflood and mudslide that occurred in Freetown and its immediate surroundings last Monday, August 14, 2017, Presidential Spokesman, *Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay* has on Saturday, August 17, 2017 provided group counseling to well over fifty(50) children in the Aberdeen Community.
Speaking to the children at his Herbert street residence at Aberdeen residence, the Presidential Spokesman who is also a University of Toronto trained Social Worker with specialization in child protection and many years of practice in Canada, the US and Sierra Leone, started by normalizing the situation for the kids by explaining that the deaths they are seeing on television and reported on the radio were as a result of a natural disaster caused by heavy rains and the laying bare of the forested hill over the years.
Bayraytay told the children that the Government has given the dead, including children, a befitting funeral and would continue to support those affected by providing temporary accommodation, food and medical supplies in the affected communities.
With some of the children presenting with anxiety, sleeplessness, and headaches, Bayraytay, with empathy, told the children to inform their respective parents of their symptoms and not to hesitate to go to bed when they needed. *“This time of the year, rain would come. Don’t hesitate to go to bed since their location in Aberdeen is not among the disaster-prone areas Government has identified”,* Bayraytay assured the kids.
It was when Bayraytay touched on the casualty figures and how children were affected that emotions ran high as children could be seen crying and sobbing. *“It is okay to cry. They are like you. They are Sierra Leoneans and going to school like you. All we can do is to pray for so that God will take control”,* Bayraytay reassured the children.
The end of the counseling session was climaxed by the offer of both Muslim and Christian prayers, led by the children themselves, for Allah/God to grant the departed eternal rest.
Earlier, Bayraytay was also at the recovery site at the Sugar Loaf Community at Matormeh, Regent, where he provided counseling, hope and reassurance to the combined team of military personnel and civilians in the recovery process.