Following the deadly mudslide and floods that have caused hundreds of casualties in Sierra Leone and displaced around 1100 households, the EU has released an initial amount of emergency humanitarian assistance of €300 000 for the most vulnerable families affected by this disaster.
The EU has also activated its emergency Copernicus mapping system to provide damage assessment maps to help with the relief efforts and a Commission humanitarian expert is on his way to assess the needs on the ground.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said: "The EU stands in full solidarity with Sierra Leone during these difficult times. My heart goes out to the people of Sierra Leone, a country I visited when it was on the frontline of the Ebola outbreak. Our new emergency funding will help provide essential supplies such as water, sanitation hygiene, food assistance, basic shelter and protection. The EU is doing all it can to help."
Overall EU assistance to Sierra Leone amounts to €376 million in long-term development support from 2014-2020. The EU, together with Member States, was also at the forefront of efforts to support the country during the Ebola outbreak. Total assistance of €2 billion over 2014-2016, was provided to the three countries affected by the crisis, which included Sierra Leone, including €70 million in humanitarian assistance from the European Commission.
Heavy rainfall on 14 August has led to significant floods and mudslides in the Southern (Regent) and Southwestern (Lumley and Juba/Kaningo) suburbs of the capital Freetown.
The Regent area and hree other communities have been flooded: Lumley (West of Freetown), Kissy Brook and Dworzak Farm.
Contamination of drinking water and sewage overflows are expected and access to safe drinking water is therefore a priority.
Heavy rainfall and flooding continue, hampering access to the affected areas. Assessments are still ongoing, with rescue teams not adequately equipped and facing difficulties.