Unexpected occurrences are inevitable in life… when negative they tend to be more devastating than those that are planned. Natural disasters have plagued nations, causing devastating effects – displacement of homes, destruction of properties and even loss of lives. Sierra Leone has had her lion’s share of natural disasters.A sub-Saharan country with a population of about 7 million, Sierra Leone is known for its white-sand beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula. The country has a GDP of about $3.6 billion from the major economic activity by the population – agriculture. Also, Sierra Leone is a mining hub in the region with resources such as diamond, gold and bauxite.
The country has undergone trauma in diverse forms, from internal conflicts since the 1980s, resulting in a civil war from 1991 to 2002 with damages in various degrees, to a prolonged period of war. These have stalled the development aspirations of the country. Aside civil unrest, heavy rains which cause floods seems to be an annual nightmare to the poor citizens of in Sierra Leone. In September 2015, there was large scale flood in Freetown, causing 4 deaths, injuries and displacing about 3,800 people. In addition, Sierra Leone was plagued with the Ebola Virus Disease! To add insult to injury, just this past August 2017, there was a devastating mudslide in the capital Freetown. Mudslides occur as earthly materials fall off from a slope or a hill. The mudslide occurred after 3 days of torrential rains, killing more than 1,000 people.
The world is a global village and citizens of the world believe in collective responsibilities in salvaging situations. Aid and humanitarian institutions came to the aid of the Sierra Leone mudslide victims to support relocating of the victims, and providing food, clothing, vaccines, and other essentials. Ahaspora Young Professionals partnered with Ghanaian Friends of Sierra Leone to galvanize support towards helping victims of the mudslide. A social media fundraising campaign was put together for sympathizers to contribute in cash and kind to provide interim relief to individuals and families affected by the natural disaster. In all, members and friends of the 2 groups donated over 2,000 kg of donated items and approximately GHS 13,000.
We are grateful to members and friends who came through massively to support this effort, demonstrating that we understand how close our world has become and how we need to continue to be our ‘brothers’ keepers. The unfortunate tragedies of Sierra Leone are not unique to them and can happen in any of our countries, which begs the call for a continued effort to help each other as much as is within our power, in little ways and large. Together, we can make this earth a happier place.
Author :: Sylvester Kwame Osei