HFSL SPECIAL REPORT: Mudslide In Freetown

By Dr. Conrad Van Dijk, HFSL Director & Desmond Johnson, TSL Director

Regent is a community based in the low mountains just outside of Freetown, Sierra Leone. It originated in 1812 when the British returned African slaves to Sierra Leone. On August 14, 2017, heavy rains caused mud to separate from the walls of the steep mountain sides and wash into the community. Over 500 people were killed as a result of the mudslide, with about another 500 injured.

Sierra Leone essentially has two seasons: wet and dry. The rainy season lasts from April to November, and during this time it rains virtually every day. In April it starts with short periods of rain daily which grow longer until July when they slow down for the dry season in November. After this time there is no rain at all in Sierra Leone. During peak season, like when this devastating mudslide occurred, heavy run offs are common, where waters become almost like rivers running down the streets. These can then be diverted by mud slides into the houses if the mud did not already fall on the houses.

Sierra Leone mudslide

CNN.com

The result is heavy damage to what are most often very flimsy houses. The total rain per year is from 80 to 120 inches.

We contacted Transformation Sierra Leone (TSL) Director Desmond Johnson to find out how he and his team have
responded to the situation. He said that he and others from the TSL team went to Regent shortly after the mudslide to help people find accommodations and supply them with food. They met with chiefs, elders, as well as victims and did what they could for the people, including praying for them.

There is still need for help in Sierra Leone, as the community rebuilds its infrastructure and the people start a long path of recovery. As the potential for weather-related damage in Sierra Leone is common, my hope is that we can help them build sturdier homes that will withstand these kinds of events.

Please consider sending your support so that we can help the people of Regent find hope in the midst of this tragedy and we will keep you updated on the situation as it develops over the coming months.

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