Twenty-three-year-old Aminata Kamara and her five-month-old son, Moses, have nowhere to call home. They were residents of the community of Gbangbayilla, which was badly hit by flash flooding and mudslide that took place on August 14, 2017. That disaster left over 400 people (including many innocent children) dead, thousands displaced and over 500 people still unaccounted for in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
Life is starting all over again for Aminata and her son. This single-day disaster destroyed property and left many homes permanently uninhabitable. ‘’We lost everything to the flood—our home, family members, neighbors and friends. My baby’s diapers, baby tub, clothes, towels, food- all perished in the flood,’’ says Aminata.
In the aftermath of the flooding and mudslide, Aminata faced some difficult choices. She had little in the way of food to provide for her child, and with virtually all of her possessions destroyed, she had to start over again to rebuild her household.
‘’Before our house was destroyed, I never allowed my son to sleep without mosquito net, and I never let him sleep uncovered. I always kept him warm in his wrapper. But after the flooding, my baby was really exposed to cold and mosquitoes. After the floods, we didn’t have a bed to sleep on. There was no blanket to cover my baby. Sometimes I just hold him closely round my arms. But this wasn’t sufficient,’’ says Aminata.
As part of its immediate relief efforts, World Vision has distributed non-food items to communities affected by the fatal flood, including Gbangbayilla. Aminata and Moses are just two of the beneficiaries of non-food items, which include blankets, mattresses, buckets and other household supplies. As well, World Vision is also working with the Government of Sierra Leone to provide counselling and support for children affected by the disaster, while also providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in affected areas.
Aminata is grateful for the supplies she’s received from World Vision: ‘’I really do appreciate the blanket and mattresses I got from World Vision. I feel like I am starting all over again. The items received from World Vision are a good start for me and my son. These are some of the things we really needed. My baby has a comfortable mattress to lie on.’’
Floods also have a record for contaminating water sources. Aminata has been able to overcome this challenge. ‘’World Vision gave us water purification powder. This has really gladdened my heart. I will use it to purify water for my baby,’’ she explains.
Aminata also shared an amazing story about how she and Moses survived Sierra Leone’s most recent disaster. ‘’On Sunday, August 13 2017, I was listening to a public notice from a particular church in Freetown, extending an invitation to attend their combined service. I am not a member of that church, but I felt moved to attend their service, covering a long distance from one side of Freetown to the other.”
She continued “After the church service, it was already late to get back home. So, I spent the night at a friend’s place, considering the long distance I had to travel. I had planned to leave very early in the morning of Monday, August 14 2017. That same morning, I got a call that all my family members in my household—uncle, aunty, brothers and cousins (seven in all) had died in the house, when Mount Sugarloaf descended on them. This is a story worth sharing with my son when he comes off age.’’