The South African Government, through its High Commissioner to Ghana and Sierra Leone, has on Friday 8 September, handed over food commodities to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for victims of the August 14 mudslide and flooding disaster.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony which took place at Juba Barracks in Freetown, South African High Commissioner, Lulu Xingwana ,reflected on the devastating effect of the mudslide and flooding disaster that killed hundreds of residents and left thousands homeless, stating that inspired by the spirit of solidarity, the South African Government responded promptly by contributing through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) a sum of $USD 615 to the government of Sierra Leone to provide vital emergency support to affected people.
"The people and government of South Africa stand in solidarity with government and the people of Sierra Leone and the affected," she said.
Her Exllency, the South African High Commissioner thanked the government of Sierra Leone and WFP for organizing the handing over ceremony, stating that it is essential that the international community continues to join forces in mobilizing assistance for Sierra Leone in order to conduct reconstruction efforts, particularly in the aftermath of the disaster.
"Such support from the international community will help the people of Sierra Leone overcome agonies of the disaster and rise up for the reconstruction," she said.
She expressed, on behalf of government and people of South Africa, her deepest condolence, assuring that they would always stand in solidarity with Sierra Leone in thick and thin.
"We have a responsibility as Africans to hold our hands together and help each other. Your loss is our loss and your pain is our pain. We would always lend a helping hand whenever the need arises," she said.
The High Commissioner reflected on the solidarity displayed by Sierra Leone to fight against the most hated apartheid system of Government in South Africa, stating that the cooperation would continue to strive.
Representative and Country Director of WFP,Dr.Housainou Taal, said the contribution represents the cooperation between South Africa and Sierra Leone and that they would acknowledge it globally.
He noted that the contribution was important specifically for its timeliness, thus thanking the South African Government for the assistance which enables WFP to assist people affected by the disaster.
It could be recalled that at the onset of the disaster, the WFP was tasked with responsibility of supporting and helping to coordinate the humanitarian response, and that they also worked with government and other partners in search and rescue efforts, including logistics and geo-spatial mapping of disaster areas.
The organization began distributing food to household affected by the mudslide in Regent on Tuesday, 15 August and provided a two-week ration of rice, pulses, vegetable oil and salt, reaching 180 households.
They also distributed food rations to communities that were affected by flash floods.
WFP is further supporting the registration pillar lead Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs to digitize beneficiary registration and verify registrants with support from local community leaders.
Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Francis A.R.Sancoh,appreciated the contribution of the South African Government and noted that government was now ever determine to identify disaster prone areas and relocate residents.
Dr.Ahmed A.Sannoh, Chief of Staff, Office of National Security thanked the South African government for the contribution and promised that the items would be used their intended purpose.