Sierra Leone mudslide: our response in photos | ActionAid UK

Mike Noyes

Head of Humanitarian Response

It is now just over a week since a devastating mudslide swept through some of the poorest communities in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Over 500 people have been confirmed to have died, while over 3,000 people remain missing. Those who have survived have lost everything, and are in a deep state of trauma. Our local staff in Freetown were able to respond within hours of the mudslide, helping in the immediate relief efforts. By last Friday, they had reached 260 families with emergency supplies of food, water and shelter. These images from the team show the impact of the mudslide, and what they are doing to help the most vulnerable.  

Children who survived the mudslide wait at a shelter in Freetown.
Children who survived the mudslide wait at a shelter in Freetown.

The mudslide happened early in the morning, when many people were sleeping. It has left thousands of people in urgent need. Women, girls and children under five are the most vulnerable. 

Workers start to remove wreckage in the Regent region of Freetown after the landslide.

Poor communities are particularly vulnerable 

Poverty itself meant that communities in marginalised areas were vulnerable to mudslides. Many people lived in homes that were not made of strong materials, and deforestation on the hillsides - exacerbated by people looking for fuel or construction materials - will have contributed to the size of the disaster.  

Survivors of the mudslide carry their belongings from the wreckage of their homes.

The rain which caused the mudslide continued, meaning that people who had lost their homes needed shelter. 

People who have lost their homes gather at a centre, to get shelter from the ongoing rain.

Our emergency response began immediately 

ActionAid has been present in Sierra Leone since 1988. Our local staff in Freetown responded immediately to the most urgent needs, collaborating with local authorities and other agencies to identify gaps.

ActionAid started to respond to the mudslide immediately. We are providing emergency food and water supplies to those affected.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are supporting some of the most vulnerable people who have lost everything

Women are helping to lead the response to the mudslide.

ActionAid focuses on women's and girls' needs 

Because of their lack of economic and social influence, women's and girls' needs can often be overlooked - especially in times of crisis. That is why we work to meet their specific needs. We are distributing kits - containing sanitary towels, soap and underwear - to women and girls, so that they are able to manage their periods with dignity. 

ActionAid staff prepare dignity kits for women and girls.

We are still in the very early stages of this emergency response. If you haven't yet donated, please do help us reach more people with essential supplies. 

The dignity kits contain sanitary towels, soap and underwear.

Donate now to our Sierra Leone Mudslide Appeal.

Donate now

Photo credits: ActionAid