Red Cross volunteers in Sierra Leone (2017).

Volunteers in race against time to find survivors in Sierra Leone mudslides

Red Cross staff and volunteers worked alongside emergency officials to rescue survivors and assist desperate communities that lost their homes and loved ones in the mudslides in and around the capital Freetown in August 2017.

The most severe mudslides – triggered by three days of heavy rains – occurred in the coastal suburb of Racecourse on the city’s eastern edge, as well as in Regent and Lumley where thousands of makeshift settlements are home to the city’s poorest communities.

Response teams, including dozens of Sierra Leone Red Cross (SLRCS) volunteers recovered people from the mud and debris, helping evacuate residents, transferring bodies to morgues and providing medical care to the injured.

Our staff and volunteers, many of whom come from the affected areas, are shocked by the sheer destruction of this disaster,” said Constant Kargbo, SLRCS Secretary General. “The needs are massive. Damaged roads, power outages and broken communication lines present huge challenges for our volunteers to reach and support the affected communities.”

This story is published as part of the campaign for International Volunteer Day 2017: Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.