The day before yesterday there was another devastating fire in the slum of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. In a very short time, thousands of the simple dwellings, which are tightly packed in the slums, burned down.
Thousands of people, families and children have lost their homes.
The slum, Susan Bay, is a collection of simple dwellings built close together, made from wooden planks, tarpaulins and sheet metal. It is estimated that about 500,000 people live densely packed in the slums of Freetown. Now thousands of them have been affected by the fire. The day after the fire, people walk through the remains to search for their few belongings. There is complete chaos, with children mostly wandering around unprotected, having been separated from their parents in the confusion of the fire. The people in the slums therefore need our help quickly.
Yesterday, our staff immediately went to the disaster site to search for children who are now in urgent need of protection and safe shelter. One girl was taken into our shelter during the night because she could not find her mother in the chaos of the fire.
Our street children’s shelter, Pikin Paddy, was located in the immediate vicinity of the slums until the fall of 2020. At that time, we moved to a shelter outside the slums – so our street children are safe. But many children still living in the slums are now in need of our help.
Now we need to act quickly and provide people with materials to build transitional housing. We need to provide basic supplies as the families have lost everything. Therefore, we are already distributing water and food packages. We need to help the people, as they were already struggling with hunger and deprivation before the fire and their situation has now worsened significantly.