Sierra Leone Mudslides | Humanitarian Coalition
Sierra Leone Mudslides
August 2017

Two days of heavy rains in mid-August led to extensive flooding and a massive mudslide when a hillside collapsed into a densely populated neighbourhood of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. As of August 21, more than 500 people were confirmed dead, with hundreds still missing. Close to half of the dead and missing are children. The mudslide affected approximately 20,000 people, with at least 300 homes completely or severely damaged.

Humanitarian Assistance: 

Improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene services; increased ability for survivors to meet their basic needs

People Helped: 
Funds provided: 
Global Affairs Canada: 
CARE Canada: $41,250
Humanitarian Coalition: 
Humanitarian Needs: 

The mudslide occurred in a neighbourhood primarily populated by the region’s poorest and most vulnerable people, with many living in nothing more than shanties. What little access to the basic necessities the area had has completely collapsed, resulting in a lack of safe drinking water, sanitation services, warm clothing and primary health, increasing the risk of an outbreak of highly communicable diseases such as cholera, dysentery or typhoid.

Humanitarian Response: 

Improve access to safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene services and improve survivors’ ability to meet their basic needs

• Provide kits comprising blankets, towels, flashlights, hygiene items and cooking utensils to 300 affected households.
• Provide a $38 unconditional cash transfer to 150 of the most vulnerable households to assist them in meeting their immediate basic needs.
• Provide safe water to 1,500 affected households for 60 days.
• Conduct a health and hygiene awareness campaign to educate population and help prevent spread of waterborne diseases such as dysentery and cholera.

Organizational Capacity: 

CARE has an experienced team in country for emergency response with capacity in water, sanitation, hygiene, health, gender, and protection. Immediately following the disaster, CARE had active its emergency preparedness plan and participated in a joint rapid assessment to determine impact and needs. The CARE emergency team has actively responded to past disasters, including floods that
affected Freetown in 2016 as well as the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic. In addition, CARE has a close working relationship with the government and is a key stakeholder in two of the nine sectors set up by the government in response to this disaster.


Assistance for smaller-scale disasters is funded by Global Affairs Canada (75%), the member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition (15%), and the Humanitarian Coalition (10%) through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund.