Caritas Freetown Counting Losses after School Damaged in Sierra Leone’s Tragic Floods

Ongoing repairs at Kiera Chaplin Desert Flower School of Caritas Freetown following a mudslide that killed a six-month-old baby. Several communities in western Sierra Leone are experiencing destructive floods and mudslides Regards. Credit: Caritas Freetown

The management of Kiera Chaplin Desert Flower School, a charitable organization that is run by Caritas Freetown to support girls from vulnerable families, is counting losses after the September 10 disastrous downpour that left one dead, several injured and a lot of property destroyed in River Number 2 village in Sierra Leone’s Western region.

Caritas Freetown Executive Director, Fr. Peter Konteh, told ACI Africa on Wednesday, September 14 that the damage to the school that is located down a hill occurred when a huge boulder rolled down the hill, destroying the school’s water supply pipes and the fence, and lodging itself on the roof of one of the buildings at the facility.

“The day before yesterday, this community experienced a mudslide. The damage started with a big stone rolling down, sweeping away our fence and washing away the roof of our school. Our water supply pipes were also destroyed,” Fr. Konteh, the founder of Desert Flower Foundation-Sierra Leone (DFF-SL), said.

He added, “I am here to assess the situation and to sympathize with our neighbors here who lost their loved one and those who were seriously injured in the mudslide.”

“I was told that there is an old man here who is in a critical condition. The situation is very sad and I am here to sympathize with the community that is affected very badly,” the Caritas Freetown Executive Director said.


He said that the inhabitants started experiencing torrential downpour at around 3 a.m., and that the rainfall became heavier and heavier.

On the way, the water carried debris, including heavy stones which were deposited on the roofs of the buildings in the school compound, the Caritas official added. 

A woman carrying a six-month-old child was trying to run to a safer place when a large boulder hit and broke her leg, Fr. Konteh said, and explained, “In the pain and confusion, the woman dropped her child and the child was swept away by the raging waters. It was later in the day that the body was retrieved and buried.”

He told ACI Africa that the Caritas Freetown Disaster Response Team was still doing the assessment and that repairs around the school were already in progress.

The Catholic Priest appealed to communities experiencing adverse environmental calamities to work towards reducing them.

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“We continue to appeal to everyone about the need to conserve the environment; the need for tree planting; the need to keep the environment clean and to stop depositing wastes irresponsible. Otherwise, we’ll continue experiencing non-stop hazards,” he said, and added, “It is the things that we throw around that stop the water from flowing freely, resulting in this damage.”

Meanwhile, Caritas Freetown, with support from Manos Unidas, has supported 2000 flood victims from the Culvert, Susan’s Bay and Looking Town Communities in Sierra Leone’s Western region that experienced destructive floods and mudslides towards the end of last month.

On a September 10 ceremony that was held at James International Company on Racecourse Road in the East End of Freetown and at the Susan’s Bay and Looking Town Communities, victims of the calamities were given assorted items including blankets, second hand clothing for both male, female and children. 

The August 2022 flood affected 18 slum communities across the West African country, Fr. Konteh said, adding that although 18 communities were affected, they are only providing these relief support to three communities which include Culvert, Susan’s Bay and Looking Town Communities respectively with a total of 2000 beneficiaries. 

In an interview with ACI Africa August 31, Fr. Konteh said that the floods, which occurred from August 14 to 17 and between August 27 and 28 had caused a lot of devastation to the locals, rendering more than 10,000 people in some communities homeless.


Prior to the distribution of the assorted relief items to the 2,000 flood victims within the three communities, Caritas Freetown through the support they received from partners have been providing meals for the victims in the affected communities.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.