Crowds of people stand among ashes after a fire in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone

Devastating fire in Freetown leaves thousands homeless

On March 24 a terrible fire burned down the shanty town of Susan's Bay, in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown. Humanity & Inclusion teams took immediate action, offering assistance to families and people with disabilities, many of whom are already participants in Humanity & Inclusion’s projects.

8,000 people were affected by the fire and at least 400 were injured, according to initial reports. More than 250 houses were destroyed, forcing many to seek temporary shelter in schools or tents. Families, who already live in extreme poverty, lost everything in the flames. Humanity & Inclusion is working with the National Disaster Management Agency in assessing humanitarian needs.

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So far, 40 people with disabilities have been identified. At least nine people lost equipment that helps in their daily tasks. Teams are meeting with these individuals to collect more information and analyze their specific needs, and Humanity & Inclusion will replace mobility aids lost in the fire. The team will work with other NGOS to ensure inclusive humanitarian assistance is provided.

Humanity & Inclusion is providing psychological support to people affected by the disaster, coordinating efforts with other NGOs. These emergency psychological support sessions give people a chance to speak openly about their experiences, often an important first step to overcome shock and trauma.

Image: Crowds of people stand among ash and rubble after fire in Sierra Leone. Copyright: HI

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