Bonthe District- On 16 February, theInternational Organization for Migration (IOM) provided non-food items (NFIs) including shelter, hygiene, and household kits to victims of floods in the riverine community of Bo-Jong, Bonthe District, Southern Sierra Leone.
Last year floods devasted households with an estimated affected population of more than 400 people in Bo-Jong. The floods destroyed some houses and washed away household items.
In close coordination with the Sierra Leone National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), IOM carried out assessment missions to know the needs of the affected community. During this process, 57 households were identified for support in disaster preparedness and response.
Speaking during the distribution of the NFIs, Abu Rahman Turay, the NDMA Regional Coordinator for South, commended IOM for the shelter, hygiene, and household kits, as he noted that these materials remain key in this humanitarian and disaster response gesture to assist the hard-to-reach community.“These items are very important for the Community which is currently in dire need of them”, he emphasized.
In his statement, the Head of IOM Sierra Leone a.i, Christo Christodoulides said: “disaster management requires joint efforts of all stakeholders from the National to the community level, and that is why IOM has worked closely with the NDMA- which supported us with the identification and initial assessment of the community”.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank them for their collaboration and support. We hope that through our joint effort, the Bo-Jong community will become a success story in the area of disaster preparedness for other communities in Sierra Leone to learn from” Christos added.
The community is located close to River Jong. And due to heavy rains, the river overflows its banks to cause flooding in the community. So, it is paramount to have mechanisms in place for Disaster mitigation. IOM is supporting youths in the community to deliver a Pilot Water Embankment Initiative.
“The Water Embankment Initiative is a good starting place and we hope that the community will embrace and own it. We also hope that community members will explore other innovative ways to safeguard the Bo-Jong community from further disaster occurrences; spotting the warning signs early and knowing how best to respond to save lives and properties” Christos stated.
In his brief response, Abdul Salankoley, Town Chief of Bo-Jong thanked IOM for the gesture. He said: “this is the first time we are receiving this kind of support relating to disaster response and preparedness. Also, we will effectively mobilize young people to do the Water Embankment Initiative to protect our community from the usual annual river overflow”.
The assistance provided to the Bo-Jong community is being made possible through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security with funds from the Government of Japan