Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Raps International Community in Sierra Leone
Following the unprecedented and disastrous flooding and mudslide that swept across some parts of Freetown and its immediate environs in the early hours of Monday 14th August 2017 which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, several injured while billions of Leones worth of property destroyed; the Minister and Senior Management staff of the Ministry have updated Diplomatic Missions on the level of casualties and damages caused by the disaster, and Government’s action plan on the current situation in the country.
The meeting which was held in the conference hall of the Ministry attracted over twenty representatives of the various resident Embassies, Consulates and organisations in Sierra Leone.
In his opening statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara called to mind the August 14, 2017 flooding and mudslide disaster that has to date claimed the lives of over 207 Sierra Leoneans, including 109 Children, 83 women and 105 men; while, billions of Leones worth of property lost or damaged. These figures, Dr. Kamara told the Foreign Diplomats, are expected to rise as the search, rescue or recovery exercise continues.
The purpose of the meeting the Foreign Minister explained is to exchange ideas on the type of collective response mechanism that could be applied in support of the ongoing response. He briefed the Foreign Envoys on decisions reached during an emergency Presidential Committee meeting with regards the National Response to the flooding and mudslide in Freetown – 7 days of mourning declared effective Wednesday 16th August 2017 during which the national flags should be flown at half mast, a Military Aid to Civil Community (MAC-C) invoked and the National Security threat raised to level 3 by His Excellency the President.
Dr. Samura Kamara further informed members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps about modalities put in place for the coordination of support either in cash or kind. The Office of National Security (ONS) he said, has prepared a comprehensive list of items required to support victims including; Bed nets, blankets, food, dignity kits, etc. A special account will be opened and made public for those who wish to make their support in cash, he added. The President, the Minister disclosed, instructed that all donations be made public in order to acknowledge contributors. Whatever donations, Dr. Samura emphasised that is made in respect of this disaster must not be part of the normal programme and support to the country, noting that this must be seen as additional support, which goes to the special account. As a result of lessons learnt during the Ebola scourge, the Foreign Minister assured that, with the involvement of communities in the activities of all the Disaster Response pillars, cash and kind donations will be dedicated just to this disaster. He disclosed that signatories to the Special Disaster Account will include, the Honourable Vice President, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and National Coordinator of ONS. The Ministry of Finance he said, will also provide assistance in respect to procurement and other financial transactions. Our overseas missions have been instructed to talk to your principals for assistance through your respective missions, he concluded.
Key recommendation made by members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps during the discussions moderated by the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay is the proper coordination of interventions and resource mobilization.
A power point presentation on the current flooding and mudslide statistical updates by the Disaster Management of the ONS formed part of the meeting.