This past August, a flood occurred in the outer regions of the capital of Sierra Leone, triggering a major mudslide that killed hundreds and displaced thousands of people.
"Every year it floods in Freetown, and every year people are displaced, and every year people exaggerate about the true impact of the floods, so when I first heard about the flood I did not think much of it," IDES' partner in the region said. Little did he know that this was much worse than anything he had witnessed before.
Many families in the area that was directly hit live in relatively fragile homes made of cane poles and and tin roofs. Whenever it floods, even in minor events, these families' homes are damaged, and many of their belongings are destroyed. It's a harsh, but sometimes inescapable cycle.
"The difference with this flood is the death toll that came with it. Overnight over a thousand people disappeared (about 600 confirmed deaths, about 600 people still missing and believed dead)," our partner said.
The devastation throughout Freetown was widespread and severe. Hearts and homes were broken forever. (You can read more about the initial impact of the mudslide from our post in August here: https://www.ides.org/news/how-to-help-victims-of-the-landslide-in-sierra-leone ).
"As part of this project I was able to walk the path of destruction that the mudslide/flood took and this is when I was able to see fully with my own two eyes the impact of the flood," our partner reported. "What I saw was entire concrete houses, some two stories or higher, completely gone. Nothing left but the foundation. In many cases, there were giant boulders sitting where the walls of these houses use to sit. This flood was much worse than the previous Freetown floods. Its impact will be felt for the years to come."
Thanks to your generosity, IDES was able to equip the local church in Freetown with funding to provide mattresses, bedding, clothing, rice, cooking oil, charcoal, and basic kitchen accessories to 35 separate families who had lost their homes.
The aid was distributed in the name of Jesus directly by the local church. Everything was received with great thankfulness by the 35 families served.
"The true way the project assisted in sharing the Gospel was most seen through the distribution. By working with the church, victims were connected with a local congregation (thus helping spread the Gospel) and the local congregation was given the opportunity to distinctly impact their own community," our partner reported. "It was their community that was hit by the flood. Many people in the congregation saw the flood, saw the destruction, helped rescue crews locate bodies (and perform rescues), and now they were able to try and help the community [rebuild]. This project helped both the victims and the congregation."
Please pray for the continued outreach of the local church with these 35 families, and with future families that will be served in their community.
We praise God for this opportunity to serve these families in need in Sierra Leone. Thank you for making hope possible!