After learning Monday that devastating floods and mudslides left hundreds dead in Sierra Leone, the United Nations migration agency released $150,000 in emergency, first-response aid relief for the West African country.
"IOM [International Organization for Migration] is ready to work with Sierra Leone's Government in any capacity it can, to respond to this terrible event," said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing on Tuesday morning from the UN agency's headquarters in Geneva.
Speaking from Dakar, Senegal, IOM's West Africa Regional chief, Richard Danziger, said that IOM was joining Sierra Leone authorities and the UN country team in conducting damage assessment throughout the impacted region near the capital, Freetown.
Hundreds of citizens are reported dead with many more missing after mudslides and floods tore through several communities; search teams expect to discover more remains in the coming days and weeks.
Access to potable water and widespread homelessness are expected to be immediate concerns for thousands of people in the capital, whose population exceeds one million.
Flooding has wreaked havoc in Sierra Leone in the recent past.
Emergency services on their way to the scene of the deadly mud slide in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF
Last week, IOM and the Government of Japan presented Sierra Leone's first water purification facility to the resettled community of Mile 6, Koya Rural. Located about 50 kilometres outside Freetown, it provides safe drinking water to the resettled population after flash floods ravaged the capital in September 2015.