The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Saturday handed over relief items and cash worth a total of $1 million to the government and people of Sierra Leone in the wake of the flooding disaster that struck the country a few days ago.
A crack team of Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), led by acting Director General Eric Nana Agyeman-Prempeh, are also in the country to offer technical assistance and train Sierra Leonean officials on disaster management.
More than 400 people have died, and 600 are still missing after a mudslide swept away homes on the edge of the capital, Freetown on Monday after torrential rains, in one of Africa’s worst flood disasters in living memory.
Government officials say at least 480 bodies have been buried, while rescue crews continue the grim work of extracting bodies from tonnes of debris with hopes of finding anyone alive fading fast.
The survivors have been relocated to temporary shelters while efforts are made to permanently resettle them.
Handing over the items, which include rain coats, mattresses, blankets, bales of used clothing, plastic items such as cups and buckets, powdered milk, sugar, maize, rice, cooking oil, soaps, treated mosquito nets, generators, and assorted anti-malarial and pain relief medication, as well as boxes of Chlorine, Bawumia said Ghana could not sit aloof while Sierra Leone, with whom it has traditionally had very good relations, experienced hardship.
Victor Bockarie Foh, Vice President of Sierra Leone, received the items on behalf of his countrymen.
In an earlier meeting with President Ernest Bai Koroma, Dr Bawumia conveyed the sympathy of Ghanaians for their West African compatriots, and indicated that private citizens and organisations were also collecting relief items to be donated to the victims of the disaster in the near future.
President Koroma revealed that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was one of the first leaders to call after the mudslide, adding, “This visit is further evidence of the close relations between Sierra Leone and Ghana.
“Our two countries have been supporting each other over the years, most recently during the Ebola outbreak. Your visit today brings hope and advice on how to deal with this disaster, and ways to prevent it in the future. We are most grateful.”
Dominic Nitiwul, Minister for Defense; Ambrose Dery, Minister for Interior; Mr Mustapha Hamid, Minister for Information; Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Aviation; mr Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Barbara Asher Ayisi, Deputy Minister for Education, accompanied the Vice President.
The delegation has since returned to Accra.