Sierra Leone Red Cross and IFRC respond to oil tank explosion tragedy

Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have responded to other major disasters in the past, including the August 2017 mudslides that killed over 1000 people. Here a Red Cross volunteer Isha Wilson-Clarke conducts a one-on-one session with a man who survived the mudslide at Regent.

Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have responded to other major disasters in the past, including the August 2017 mudslides that killed over 1000 people. Here a Red Cross volunteer Isha Wilson-Clarke conducts a one-on-one session with a man who survived the mudslide at Regent.

Photo: IFRC/Katherine Mueller

Freetown, Nairobi, 6 November 2021—Sierra Leone Red Cross teams are providing ambulance services; first aid and psychosocial support following a fire incident that killed nearly 100 on Friday night. To support Sierra Leone Red Cross teams to step up its emergency response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is in the process of releasing money from its Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF).

The number of affected people and the gruesome nature of the disaster have posed challenges to response teams.

Kpawuru E. T. Sandy, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society’s Secretary General currently, said:

“The main hospital is overwhelmed, and families are struggling to identify their loved ones who were burnt or killed as bodies are badly charred.”

Sierra Leone has been hit by frequent disasters in recent years, including floods, epidemics, and fire incidents.

Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa said: “This is a heart-breaking incident, for a country where memories of the 2017 tragic mudslides and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak are still fresh. Over 100 patients are now being taken care of at different hospitals in Freetown.”

Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have responded to other major disasters in the past with the latest being the Susan’s Bay fire incident in March. The disaster left at least 7,000 homeless. Sierra Leone Red Cross responded by providing first aid and ambulance services, and IFRC released nearly 300,000 Swiss francs from its DREF to scale up the response operation. Sierra Leone Red Cross teams have also responded to the August 2017 mudslides that killed over 1000 people; and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 4000 people.

Through its 18,000 volunteers across the country, Sierra Leone Red Cross continues to play a leading role as a first responder to disasters and as a provider of primary health care.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

In Freetown
Swaray Lengor, +232 79 236196; swaray.LENGOR@ifrc.org
Dr Ghulam Muhammad AWAN, +232 78 811 584; ghulam.awan@ifrc.org
Camara Yusuf; +23279492611; ycamara@sierraleoneredcross.org

In Nairobi
Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613, euloge.ishimwe@ifrc.org