After the landslide in the mountain town of Regent on 14 August 2017, which left hundreds of houses buried in the mud, turning roads into churning rivers; the Secretary-General was physically on the site of the collapse coordinating the first response by SLRCS volunteer steams which were activated following the occurrence of the disaster. The 100 SLRCS volunteers were the very first to respond working with the community-based volunteers providing necessary rescue services.
As the largest humanitarian organization in Sierra Leone, the Society’s responders was the only aid organization that was involved in transporting casualties and dead bodies from the sites of the disaster. Since the onset of the disaster, SLRCS in close collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as other movement partners were at the forefront, supporting the Government of Sierra Leone carrying out search and rescue and other emergency-related activities.
The Red Cross has proven over the last five decades to be top on the list of credible and reliable humanitarian institutions delivering needs based, targeted and preventive services to vulnerable communities providing First Aid to victims of situations of crises, including the August 14, 2017, disaster. As part of its auxiliary role as enshrined in the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society revised act of 2012, the Society has been carrying out transparent relief distribution to survivors and institution hosting survivors.
Volunteers of the Society have also provided psychosocial support and helped restore family links between survivors and their distant relatives. Because Red Cross volunteers and staff live and work within the affected communities, they were able to curb the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea, which was a huge concern for health partners after the disaster struck.
The SLRCS hygiene team and other partners were been able to reach the most vulnerable people, to respond to their needs, and help them to rebuild more resilient lives, while its federation counterpart IFRC backed the society’s local action with sustained global support, to allow the National Society reach as many people as possible.
Food and non-food items from Turkish Red Crescent and another sister National Societies, humanitarian organizations, individuals, and groups have been distributed to Kaningo, Regent, Culvert, St. Georges Foundation, Don Bosco and to survivors who were admitted at Connaught and Emergency hospitals. 210 beneficiaries from 314 households benefited from the distribution at Kaningo.
The Society has also recently received the consignment of hygiene kits and non-food items from the International Federation depot in Dubai, which will be distributed in the coming days at Culvert. The items will include non-food items such as blankets, bed nets, clean up tools etc. The Society remains resilient with its seven fundamental principles as it continues to save lives and changed minds in Sierra Leone.
Awoko Monday, October 23, 2017.