11 September 2009
Basile Zevounou/Benin Red CrossFloods in West Africa are affecting over 400,000 people and the British Red Cross has released £25,000 to provide relief for badly hit Sierra Leone.
The UN reports that since the rainy season began in June, 159 people have been killed across the region with 103 of these in Sierra Leone.
Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster relief manager, said: “The flooding is ongoing with a high level of rainfall predicted to continue over the next couple of weeks. Our Disaster Fund contribution is helping the Sierra Leone Red Cross respond quickly. Tarpaulins, blankets, plastic buckets and sleeping mats are being purchased locally to support families who have lost all their belongings.”
Torrential rains have affected 16 countries and the situation is dire, with floods leaving thousands of people homeless and crops damaged or destroyed.
In response to the crisis, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provided immediate assistance to flood victims, by using its stocks of relief materials prepositioned in different countries as part of its ‘early warning, early action’ approach.
The Federation has launched appeals to help 40,000 people in badly hit Burkina Faso and 25,000 people in Senegal.
Pete said: “Money raised will help vulnerable families with emergency shelter, basic healthcare and water and sanitation services. We are weighing up how the British Red Cross can best support these appeals.”
Red Cross volunteers assisting affected communities are focusing on preventing the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
A donation from our Disaster Fund has been made in response to this crisis. Contributions to the Disaster Fund will not be used directly in response to this situation, but will be used in response to other emergencies in the future.