On 14 August, torrential rains in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, led to a devastating mudslide resulting in the loss of nearly 500 lives with a further 600 still missing and 3000 people made homeless. The worst affected area was Regent, a mountain area on the outskirts of the capital. Debris was reportedly carried 5km downhill, causing severe damage in its wake. The Government of Sierra Leone has led the response with the support of international and national organisations already present in the country. A 7 person UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team, including three MapAction team members have joined this effort. Two of MapAction’s team have landslide and topographical slope analysis experience which has been useful in supporting the next steps of the response.
Concerns continue around the risks of water-borne disease, as well as the ongoing effects of the continuing rains, which are usual for this time of the year.
MapAction’s role has been to provide support to the damage assessments, identification of those in need following the mudslide and in the coordination of information products – all helping to achieve a common operational picture.