Humanitarian response to Freetown flooding
Building Skills – Saving Lives: Education and local networking as humanitarian response to the 2017 Freetown flooding
On August 14th 2017, Freetown was hit by a disastrous flooding and mudslide, which caused the death of more than 1000 people and left many thousands homeless. Dreamtown quickly sent an alert to the Danish Emergency Relief Fund, who approved our intervention that went on to take place in October-December 2017 in collaboration with Youth Dream Centre Sierra Leone.
While many different groups of people were severely affected, the lives of vulnerable children and youth are particularly exposed to negative impacts of such a disaster. Focussing on their needs, the intervention supported some of the most vulnerable affected children and youth with sanitation kits, education materials, and scholarships, so they can stay healthy and continue their education. Education can be life saving for children and youth in emergency situations, through provision of a safe, supervised environment, and engagement in structured activities with the chance of learning to cope with increased risks and shielding from exploitation.
Our intervention also established a local network, using community mobilisation to raise awareness about disaster risk management in disaster risk prone areas. Working with six local community based organisations in Freetown increased the reach of the intervention, helped us reach the most vulnerable people, and proved that, given the opportunity, local organisations have the ability to solve problems in their communities.
Through the intervention, almost 4000 people in six disaster affected communities increased their resilience to disasters through community-led sensitisation campaigns, 120 children and youth received emergency relief, and almost 300 youth were trained in disaster risk reduction.