Natural disasters have been all too close to home recently with fires burning in California and the effects from hurricanes Harvey and Irma still causing devastation across the United States. The U.S. is not the only country trying to cope with trauma caused by nature’s catastrophes.
Just a month ago the small African country of Sierra Leone experienced mass flooding after days of rain which caused a mudslide in the town of Regent, a mountain town bordering the capital of Freetown.
The flooding caused dozens of houses to collapse and roads to crumble leading to over 450 known deaths and over 600 missing who are not expected to have survived. Thousands more have been left homeless and mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Sierra Leone is no stranger to tragedy. In 2014, thousands died from the Ebola virus which swept the country. While the graveness of this epidemic still lingers with the people of Sierra Leone, it may have helped them deal more readily with these floods. After the Ebola outbreak, rescue teams and supplies were assembled in bulk to prepare for another outbreak or catastrophe. These resources proved helpful during the floods.
Several humanitarian organizations such as World Vision International are helping to support those who have been affected by the floods. Items such as mattresses, cooking/eating utensils and toiletry kits have been distributed by the thousands. Many have been treated and vaccinated for Cholera, a disease which can be spread by drinking contaminated water.
The damage caused by the flooding has shed light on the need for more government regulation on illegal construction on hillsides such as the one in Regent. Recovery plans and efforts are still in the works. It will be a long road to recovery for Sierra Leone.