Meeting The Needs of Flood Victims at Kaningo, Freetown, Sierra Leone

One of the flood-affected areas is the Kaningo community in Lumley, a suburb of Freetown. Representatives of Develop Africa made the first visit to this community to do an initial assessment on the day of the disaster.

The team did one-to-one interviews with some of the victims and obtained vital information from them. The stories that they told were disheartening. A nine-year-old boy by the name of Musa lost nineteen of his family members and was the only survivor. He was injured and in critical condition. Children explained that they saw their parents swept away by the flood when the Kaningo River overflowed its banks.

Providing activities for flood-affected kids

The whole scene was very emotional. Victims were crying because of loss of their loved ones and property. Hundreds of them were rendered homeless and some were badly injured. Their stories confirmed the need for psycho-social counseling – to help them get over the traumatic experience. Based on our interviews, we determined that they were in urgent need of basic necessities such as food, clothing, toiletries and drinking water.

We immediately embarked on three interventions:

Psycho-social counseling:
We are offering psychosocial counseling to the victims. In the photos, you can see team members providing the victims with one-to-one counseling. The victims are very grateful to have someone to talk with. This is helping them to unload what is on their minds and express their grief. We are reassuring them that all is not lost – while there is life, there is still hope.

There is a dire need for counseling as some of the older victims are still in shock. One of the traumatized women in another location is still not able to talk, several days later.

providing psych-social counseling

Provision of Toiletries, Clothing, and Food:
Through your support, we have provided toiletries such as bath soap, tooth paste, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, pampers, buckets for bathing, underwear, and slippers for both the young and the old and clothes for kids. We also provided funds to some of the victims to enable them to purchase food - as this was desperately needed immediately after the disaster. In the coming weeks, we will be distributing additional supplies.

Remedial Supporting Activities for the Kids:
In disaster situations like these, the children are often neglected. With this in mind, we decided to also focus on meeting the broader needs of the kids. We are providing classes for 350 kids, helping them to redirect their attention and energies.

These classes cover subjects such as Math and English with the goal of helping them to revise key things they learned in school. Lessons include topics like the parts of speech (nouns, verbs etc.), counting in multiples of two, the alphabet etc. The black board is divided into sections for each grade level. The school materials that we have distributed (books, pens, and pencils for the kids) are enhancing our teaching sessions.

The kids have fun playing with the board games and blocks that we provided. They love the fun and relaxing sessions. This is helping them to get over the trauma.

The conditions have not been ideal. On some occasions, it is noisy and difficult to get them to focus. An additional complexity that we encountered is that some of the children have never been to school. In the included photos, you can see the crowded room where classes were offered. The room serves a dual purpose.In the morning it's a classroom for kids. At night it is a bedroom for men, women, and children - with the mattresses spread all over the floor.

The community leaders, parents, and children are very appreciative of the lessons we are providing. Classes take place for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. The classes are occupying the kids productively.

Additional Video: Fun Sessions With Flood-Affected Kids at Kaningo, Freetown, Sierra Leone

See more photos

We are so grateful for your support which has helped to bring smiles to hundreds of faces and meet immediate needs. We certainly could not have done this without your support.  Special thanks to the many individual donors for your support that made this possible.  

There is much work to be done and a long recovery road ahead. Please consider signing up for a recurring donation. You can also help spread the word by sharing this update on FaceBook or by forwarding this to your family and friends. Thanks so much for your support.





Video Date: 
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
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