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Agencies Rush Aid To Flood-Stricken Sierra Leone

UN Agencies Rush Aid To Flood-Stricken Region Of Sierra Leone

New York, Aug 22 2005 12:00PM

United Nations agencies are providing emergency aid in Sierra Leone amid
concern over the possible outbreak of waterborne diseases, especially
cholera, after heavy flooding destroyed many homes and affected thousands
of villagers, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) reported today.

Following a Government request, an inter-agency mission of UN agencies,
government authorities and non-government organizations in the six most
affected chiefdoms in Pujehun district, 300 kilometres south of Freetown,
the capital, has identified five priority needs: food, water and
sanitation, non-food items, health, and shelter.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO)
have already supplied water containers, chlorine, washing soap, and
essential drugs, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is making
arrangements to provide food, OCHA said.

A UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) helicopter carried out an in-depth
aerial survey at the weekend to further assess the damage in the Pujehun
district, where nine out of 12 chiefdoms were inundated by rising water
levels of the Wanje and Moa Rivers.

It is difficult to give the exact estimates of the people affected since
many villages continue to remain inaccessible as roads and bridges have
been swept away, OCHA said. Wells have also been wiped out giving rise to
concerns over the possible spread of waterborne diseases, it added.


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