Freetown, Sierra Leone, W. Africa – 150 filter systems impacting up to 15,000 people
On August 14, 2017. Heavy rains caused a mudslide that claimed 500 lives and left thousands homeless. Rains continued and flooding caused more people to be evacuated. While Freetown buried its dead and mourned their losses, other threats were lurking. Health officials are concerned about the spread of malaria and water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid.
Meanwhile, Waterbearer Ambassador Audrey Kissik had just delivered filters to neighboring country Liberia and could arrange for 100 filters to be transported by a police convoy heading to Sierra Leone with relief supplies. Another Waterbearer Shannon McElyea introduced us to RoseAnn Rotandaro from TheVillageLink.org and Terri Knonseri from FamiliesWithoutBorders.org. Both organizations based in California focus on educational programs in Sierra Leone and had college students on the ground willing to help.
A WhatsApp Group Freetown Relief Effort was formed and quickly grew as more organizations wanted to help in relief efforts. We communicated in real time across three continents sharing update information on where victims were being sheltered and what supplies they needed. More aid from SchoolsForSalone.org and Programme for Children stepped up by providing accommodation and another vehicle to get the water filters and buckets distributed between the camps. They also supplied mattresses, bags of rice, non-food items and school supplies. The Waterbearers raised an addition 50 filters that were delivered through our partner Waves For Water.
But the real credit goes to two young men Ses Jay and Joseph Ellie who distributed clean water and supplies to those in need.