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UK Gives Cash Directly to Sierra Leonean Mudslide Victims

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

As Sierra Leone recovers from the recent deadly floods and mudslide in Freetown that killed over 500 people with many more still unaccounted for, 1,908 affected households will be directly supported with cash through mobile money transfers to help them meet their immediate needs.

The cash transfers are being funded by UK Aid from the British people (also known as DFID), World Food Programme (WFP) and facilitated by UNICEF in collaboration with the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).

The cash transfer will help all registered affected households to rebuild their lives and support their surviving families including women and children. This programme is part of the £5 million support pledged by the UK Government. This is to help ensure that people have access to clean water, appropriate sanitation, nutritional supplements, child protection and psychosocial services.

“The UK Government continues to stand with the people of Sierra Leone and support them during this crisis”, said Guy Warrington, British High Commissioner. “I am pleased that as part of our £5 million commitment we are able to give money directly to those affected so they can decide what is best to meet their immediate needs and take steps to rebuild their lives”.

 The scheme will run from September to November and provide a range of support including unconditional cash support for a period of three months to help households cover the immediate needs of all household members, including education, food and health needs; one-off early recovery cash support to help households to start rebuilding their lives in a safer place will be made in September; and food rations  for September  and additional cash support to be provided by WFP to all affected households for October and November

“Given that on average, Sierra Leonean’s spend two-thirds of their household expenditure on food and transport, the cash transfer will help to ensure families do not revert to taking their children out of school or selling productive assets in order to meet their food needs,” said Kinday Samba, WFP Deputy Country Director. “In addition to the cash transfers, WFP has provided rice, beans, vegetable oil, salt and fortified complementary food to households affected by the mudslide and floods.”

This week, UNICEF facilitated the issuing of over 1900  mobile phones and new sim cards to heads of households to help them retrieve cash via mobile money up to the equivalent of $ 180 which they will receive in four instalments during the three month period. Additionally, a one-off conditional recovery aid cash transfer of the equivalent of $300 will be provided to households who wish to voluntarily get resettled among communities. An additional $ 216 from WFP cash for food for October and November will be provided to all beneficiaries who voluntarily resettle.

“Families have suffered, lives have been lost and property destroyed through these unprecedented disasters”, said Hamid El Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone. “The cash transfers could be a great relief to every affected household as they will provide a life line in meeting some of their needs including the education of their children as they try to resettle”.

“The tragic event has had enormous effects on the lives of our people, as most of them lost everything. The cash aid will go a long way in helping them start afresh and give them hope for the future,” said Ishmail Tarasid Tarawali, National Security Coordinator, Office of National Security.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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