Torrential rains in the first and second weeks of September 2015 caused extensive damage in and around Freetown, Sierra Leone, largely due to rivers bursting their banks. The flooding caused widespread displacement and destruction, affecting more than 20,000 people.
The loss of their homes forced people to turn to overcrowded temporary shelters for safety and assistance. Heavy rains contaminated water sources causing a severe shortage of clean water, increasing the risk for epidemic outbreaks such as acute watery diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases.
With support from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF), Plan International distributed shelter kits to 140 flood affected families to support them in rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes.
Plan staff also distributed 750 education kits to vulnerable children in order to support their return to school. Education kits included materials that many children lost in the flooding: school uniforms, school bags, pens, pencils, a ruler and exercise books.
Hygiene kits were distributed to families because flood damage disrupted and contaminated many water systems. Kits included basic hygiene and water purification items. Additionally, twelve villages were provided with clean water through rehabilitation and treatment of contaminated water in wells.
Plan also established protection desks to provide psychosocial support and sensitization on protection issues, in particular against sexual exploitation and abuse.