Caritas Sierra Leone Seeking “speedy support to save lives” Following Slum Inferno

Logo of Caritas Sierra Leone. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The development and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops in Sierra Leone is calling on the people of God in the West African nation to offer aid to dwellers of Kroo Bay slum on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, whose houses were razed in an inferno last month. 

At least 137 houses in Kroo bay, one of the biggest slums in Freetown, were destroyed by the September 20 inferno, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown Municipality reportedly said. The Mayor also reported that almost 500 people were displaced by the fire. 

In a report shared with ACI Africa Sunday, October 3, the leadership of Caritas Sierra Leone says the situation in Kroo Bay “remains unbearable” for the victims of the September 20 inferno. 

“Caritas calls for speedy support and actions to save lives of children, women, pregnant and lactating mothers, adolescent boys and girls, person's living with disabilities, the aged and schools going children,” the leadership of Caritas Sierra Leone says. 

The leadership adds, “The current situation remains unbearable for the victims who are in desperate need of immediate support of food, shelter, clothing, trauma healing, and schooling support; as schools have just reopened”. 


“No help is too small to help these helpless victims,” say the officials of Caritas Sierra Leone in the October 3 report. 

According to Ms. Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown Municipality, the September 20 inferno is the latest of over 20 significant disasters that have afflicted Freetown in 2021.

He attributed the disasters to poor planning and overpopulation, among other things, adding that the government is coordinating various efforts to aid the fire victims with food and other necessities. 

In the October 3 report, officials of Caritas Sierra Leone say they have been cooking and delivering meals to the Kroo Bay fire victims.

"On the 25th of September 2021, Caritas Freetown started the cooking and delivery of hot meals (Rice and soup) to over 500 fire victims’ population that benefitted 100% of children of the engulfed section at the Kroo Bay community," they say, adding that they have established two cooking locations in the slum. 

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The meal that will be provided daily for an "uninterrupted 15 days" is part of Caritas' effort to "cushion the hunger of the hungry victims and rebuild the kilocalories of the body," the acting Director, Caritas Freetown, Ishmeal Charles, has been quoted as saying in the report. 

"The daily hot meal is supplementing the cost of their daily food maintenance as heads of families cannot generate income from livelihood activities they claim, especially female headed households," says Mr. Charles. 

To ensure the hot meal is similar to the locally made food, women in the community (the Mammy Queens) are involved in the cooking, assisted by volunteers and Caritas' nutritionist.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.