The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), has commissioned a well structured facilities for the August 2017 Mudslide victims at Mile Six. The construction was funded by the African Union (AU), through the Solidarity Assistance Disaster Relief Fund.

The facilities includes a community market and a solar panel water well which were presented with food and non-food items together with direct cash transfer to the Mudslide victims.

On the 14th of August 2017, Sierra Leone experienced massive floods and a mudslide at Mortomeh that left hundreds of buildings destroyed, 1,141 people dead and 3,000 homeless.

The Government of Sierra Leone through the support of three indigenous construction companies; Pavi Fort, Seacon and Gento Group, was able to establish a resettlement camp comprising 52 housing units at Mile six for the survivors of the disaster.

The housing units lies on 206 Acres of Land. They are under the management of the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC); and are being monitored by a Committee comprising victims of the mudslide survivors.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Director General of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Brima B. Sesay stated that through the intervention of the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Adekunle King, the African Union, through its Solidarity Disaster Assistance Relief Fund, provided the funding for the project.

“The Sierra Leone Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Adekunle King, advocated on behalf of the NDMA to the African Union for the provision of basic social amenities for the mudslide survivors. The sum of $99,975 was provided,” he disclosed.

“A community-based approach involving all stakeholders such as SALHOC, mudslide survivors, and Ministry of Social Welfare amongst others was used in the identification of the basic needs of the victims. All procurement procedures were followed in the implementation of the project,” he added.

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC), Ing. Charles Musa narrated that the camp was first identified to resettle the 2015 flash floods victims. He said when the 2017 mudslide occurred, the Government with support from three indigenous construction companies resettled the survivors at Mile Six. He, however, expressed concerns that there have been encroachments into the allotted land and promised to put systems in place to ensure that there is enough land to relocate potential victims.

The Deputy Minister of Energy, who doubles as the SLPP Western Area Rural District Chairman, Dr Eldred Taylor stated that the Government is very committed to human capital and infrastructural development. He pointed out some of the developments achieved in areas of electricity, road networks and education within the district by the Government. He spoke on unity and patriotism and encouraged everyone to support the vision of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio.

The Western Region Resident Minister, Nabila Tunis, who represented the Chief Minister as the guest of honour, sympathized with the survivors for their loss. She explained about the great loss Sierra Leone had due to the August 2017 mudslide. She assured survivors that the President cares for every Sierra Leonean, especially disaster victims, noting that that is why he established the NDMA under the direct supervision of the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa.

“During Ebola in 2015, the President, the opposition leader then, travelled from the UK to sympathize with the affected population and helped the Government then to fight the Ebola disease. He did so because he believed that Sierra Leone is ‘One Country’ and that we are all ‘One People’.

As a listening President who believes that every Sierra Leonean is important and that their lives matter, he established the NDMA to manage disasters and has been providing direct support to the NDMA to effectively manage disaster-related matters in the country. The Government has been providing the required funds to respond to affected victims and the prevention of disasters. All this is done because it is the Government’s responsibility to protect and provide for its people,” she concluded.

The victims occupying all 68 households at the camp received a bag of rice (50 kg), two gallons of vegetable cooking oil, a direct cash transfer of Nle2,000 (Two Thousand New Leones) each and building materials to rehabilitate some units that were destroyed by wind storms.

Chairlady of the camp, Madam Rugiatu was overjoyed as she expressed gratitude to the NDMA and supporters. She noted that the facilities, especially the market, will boost their economic activities and reduce the financial burden faced by women who had to trek long distances to buy foodstuff.

The Chairman of the Resettlement Camp, Abu Bakarr Kamara, tanked and appreciated the NDMA and the Government and the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio for restoring the dignity of survivors and alleviating their suffering. He advised the beneficiaries to use their moneys well and cautioned them to take care of and not misuse the facilities.