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Al-Imdaad Foundation on the ground in Sierra Leone

The Al-Imdaad Foundation, as a proudly South African organisation founded on the African continent, also mobilised its teams for a relief mission

Submitted by the Al-Imdaad Foundation
Two weeks after the devastating mudslide that struck the town of Regent on the outskirts of the Sierra Leonean capital Freetown on August 14, local non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Al-Imdaad Foundation was on the ground for a relief mission.

After two weeks of search and rescue efforts, it became apparent that the 600 or so missing persons were unlikely to be found, pushing the official death toll to over 1 000.

The disaster is one of the worst on the African continent in decades and brought together a great wave of support from across the board.

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The South African government itself committed an initial R8 million for relief efforts directed through the World Food Programme (WFP) as announced in the press briefing of Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mshabane on August 23.

The Minister also encouraged fellow South Africans and NGOs to contribute to the on-going relief efforts for victims. The Al-Imdaad Foundation, as a proudly South African organisation founded on the African continent, also mobilised its teams for a relief mission to address the needs of victims.

Soon after the disaster struck, the foundation put out an emergency appeal to donors. A relief mission was quickly arranged with team members touching down in Freetown on August 27.

The teams met with local authorities co-ordinating the response efforts, before making their way to the site of the main mudslide in Regent on the outskirts of Freetown.

It is now known that more than 5 900 people lost their homes or were directly affected by the floods and mudslides.
The victims have spread out across various displacement camps throughout the city, having lost family, homes and belongings.

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Al-Imdaad Foundation’s team was on the ground to conduct distributions of food, potable water, hygiene packs and other relief items to the affected victims.

On August 28, the team met with the Sierra Leonean Office of National Security (ONS), which is responsible for disaster response and rehabilitation, to finalise locations for interventions.

On August 29, the team engaged in a distribution of mattresses, pillows, kitchen starter packs including pots, pans and utensils and female and infant hygiene packs. The items were distributed in the capital Freetown, in the Hill Station area.

The beneficiaries were victims who had lost homes and belongings and were staying in temporary tent facilities provided by UNICEF and administered by the ONS.

The intervention aimed to provide basic items that would assist victims in the medium to long term when they were moved to semi-permanent, individual tents, or found other places for shelter.

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Currently, more than 1 500 displaced families scattered across the city are staying in camps, mosques, churches and other temporary centres administered by the ONS. They are being accommodated and provided meals through a committee set up for this purpose.

But in the words of Al-Imdaad Foundation relief team member, Aadam Badrudeen: “The key thing is sustainability,” which is why the Al-Imdaad Foundation chose to include items that would assist in the medium to long-term.

Al-Imdaad Foundation endeavours to respond to all major crises and disasters, and when these occur on the home continent of Africa, such as the Sierra Leone Mudslide, the burden of responsibility is greater.

For more information on the Al-Imdaad Foundation and their recent response, or to contribute to their projects, please call 0861 786 243 or visit www.alimdaad.com

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