Freetown 6 months on: Street Child study shows 44% of victims of the mudslide have no incomes

On Monday 14th August an estimated 1,000 people died when an entire mountainside collapsed in the capital of Sierra Leone. Huge boulders, dislodged by rain, left a two-mile trail of destruction – flattening everything in its path.

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Immediately after the disaster the international community kicked into gear. NGO Street Child was one of the first on the scene providing emergency food with support from the UK government. Street Child’s team of 70 national staff worked 12-hour days for over a month providing over 85,000 meals, water, clothing, blankets and trauma counselling to those who had lost everything.

6 months on from the disaster and much of the international community have left. But there is still much to be done.

Our latest report shows that over half of families impacted by the mudslide still have no source of income. Following a survey of over 300 households, Street Child discovered that 44% of families affected by the flooding and mudslide have no current source of income – a drastic increase from the 5% of households who were in this position prior to the mudslide. 

The survey also showed an encouraging number of children in school, with 84% of children currently enrolled in, and attending, school. However, the survey indicated that sustaining this level in the long-term is unlikely. 41% of families surveyed were identified as either having children out of school or at risk of dropping out of school.

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Overall the study has provided a much-needed indication of the impact of the mudslide on families in the post-emergency context. It has demonstrated there is significant work to be done to help families rebuild their livelihoods in order to provide for their children and send them to school.

Street Child specialises in supporting mothers to set up sustainable businesses so they can afford the cost of feeding and educating their children. In Freetown where, after losing everything, so many families face uncertain futures, this work is vital to giving them a brighter future. The results from our report will guide our programme design over the coming weeks so we can effectively support those who need it.