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ECOWAS reaches out to UNDP in aid of Sierra Leone
R-L Kallon and de Souza

Abuja 25th August 2917. The ECOWAS Commission is reaching out to the United Nations (UN) Agencies charged with humanitarian deliveries as part of its commitment towards bringing succor to victims of flood and landslides in Sierra Leone.

This is in addition to the collaborative hand already offered by ECOWAS to sister global agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in order to ensure that the humanitarian crisis in the West African country is brought under control.

Conferring with UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Edward Kallon on the 25th of August 2017, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza said the ECOWAS Commission is leveraging on the goodwill already generated by its intervention in Sierra Leone to increase the level of assistance received so far.

He briefed the UN chief on the Commission’s activities and meetings   culminating in the donation by ECOWAS institutions (totaling $400,000) to the victims and with the possibility of doing more.

The President disclosed that already, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has donated $500,000 to the victims on behalf of the Nigerian private sector while other philanthropists such as Africa’s richest man, the Nigerian Aliko Dangote has also enlisted to help.

President de Souza said after visiting the devastated area, an ECOWAS team was left behind to take care of exigencies in Sierra Leone. The team is working with the Directorate of Humanitarian Affairs as well as emergency response team of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) in the discharge of assigned duties.

He noted further that some Member Countries have been giving donations in solidarity with the ECOWAS initiative under the watch of the ECOWAS Peace Fund while stressing that everything is being done to ensure that the spate of cholera that usually accompanies mudslides, is contained.

“I have issued a call for humanitarian agencies to come and support us while the one million dollars donation is being targeted” The president added.

He however appealed for a situation where the assistance being given to the people would trickle down to the real victims of the disaster. The appeal stemmed from unfortunate reports which trailed the Ebola intervention.

Describing the Sierra Leone humanitarian crisis as tragic, Kallon who is also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative  noted that the deforestation of the mountains was partly responsible for the catastrophe after the previous Ebola problem had pushed people who continued to run, up “thereby undermining the integrity of the mountain”.

He presented an overview of what the UN is currently doing to contain the ravaging situation in Sierra Leone.

These included the deployment and engagement in flash updates by the UN coordinating humanitarian Office in addition to the on-ground placement of seven UN disaster management teams while life-saving needs are being progressively increased.

The UN boss assured that useful lessons had been learnt from the Ebola experience.

Overall, 5,000 citizens are affected by the Sierra Leonean humanitarian crisis. No fewer than 2000 people are without shelter while 493 victims have since been buried. Several hundreds of people are still missing.

The International Committee of Red Cross has already launched an appeal for 4.6 million Swiss Francs.

The ECOWAS Commission is the leading international organization at the vanguard of relief assistance to victims of the Sierra Leonean flood and landslides which occurred on the 14th of August 2017.

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