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Sierra Leone News: As 7,500 disaster victims need food assistance South Africa provides US$615,000 to WFP

Kadiatu Bangura a widow with four kids to care for narrowly escaped August 14 disaster at Kamayama West end of Freetown, she is now surviving on the kindness of friends and support from the World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian partners.
She said on that morning it was still dark when they heard the noise of water, dirt and stones rolling down and felt the ground shaking after a whole mountainside had collapsed at Regent, the mud rushing in and swallowing up houses and entire neighborhoods beneath the regent Kamayama valley.
Kadiatu said “I grabbed my four month old daughter and three-year-old son, and the other the two older children were running behind to escape the disaster, many others were not so lucky to survive, she said.
The Freetown disaster left hundreds of people dead and many missing.
“This is an immense tragedy for the government and people of Sierra Leone, who have already endured so much hardship, including the Ebola outbreak,” says United Nation’s World Food Programe Country Director Housainou Taal.
“WFP and our partners are doing our utmost to ensure that lifesaving assistance is delivered as quickly as possible to those who need it the most.”
After the disaster the (WFP) began distributing initial two-week rations of rice, beans, vegetable oil and salt to scores of people like Kadiatu and family, who literally escaped with the only shirts on their backs.
Housainou Taal said the United Nations has tasked WFP with supporting and helping to coordinate the humanitarian response.
Overall, roughly 7,500 people will receive WFP assistance including rescue workers and families hosting the mudslide survivors and those in temporal holding centers according to Office of National Security Response Officer Vandy Rogers.
He said ONS and partners will provide meals on daily basis for disaster victims at Old School, Juba Barracks and Kaningo until they are relocated.
The most vulnerable which includes pregnant and nursing women and small children under -five will also receive specialized, nutrient-packed food supplements provided by WFP and other partners.
According to Kadiatu who lost her husband during the disaster memories are still vivid on how she ran for her life and children.
Like many other survivors, Kadiatu is now a destitute. “We have nothing left, no place to live, no clothes except for handouts, we receive from Government and NGO’s”.
Kadiatu used to eke her living with her husband by breaking stones to sell to contractors, her husband was also a caretaker of an unfinished building at the Kamayama valley that was swept away whose owner still lives abroad.
WFP is also supporting the registration pillar lead Ministry of Social Welfare to digitalize beneficiary registration and verify restraints with support from local authorities, a wireless internet facility at Juba and Old School command center.
Housainou Taal of WFP also said that “we support cooking of WFP rations at shelters and preparation of condiments that typically accompany rice.
He said the relief effort is being supported by the Government of South Africa with US$615,000 as an emergency assistance to the disaster victims.
The South Africa High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Lulu Xingwana said the support to WFP is in line with the African solidarity to join forces to assist the disaster victims in Sierra Leone.
The Director of Agriculture A R Sankoh and Ahmed Sannoh Chief of Staff office of National Security said the disaster victims need food to sustain themselves and appealed for more donor support.
She said the food assistance will help disaster victims overcome agonies and rise up for reconstruction.
According to a World Bank report after the disaster an estimated economic loss worth over US$30m was recorded and US$80m will be required for the reconstruction.
By Saidu Bah
Wednesday September 13, 2017.

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