17 August 2017

Sydney, Australia­ – Torrents of water rushed through the streets of Sierra Leone capital of Freetown on Monday 14 August, causing mudslides which have reportedly killed as many as 600 people, and left nearly 3000 people without homes.

The Aminata Maternal Foundation is gravely concerned by these developments, particularly the imminent danger posed by water-borne diseases such as cholera as well as the lack of emergency support for women and girls.

The Foundation calls upon governments and NGOs to work together to deliver emergency relief and basic medical supplies.

“Those most at risk and vulnerable are pregnant women, mothers and young girls, who have likely lost family members and their support networks in the recent flooding”, CEO and Founder of the Aminata Maternal Foundation, Aminata Conteh-Biger said.

“The Foundation is concerned about the lack of emergency relief supplies and temporary shelter for women and girls who have lost their families or become homeless,” added Conteh-Biger. “Beyond the emergency relief, we value our cooperation with the Aberdeen Women’s Clinic in Freetown, and seek to support them to ensure that the reproductive rights and hygiene needs of vulnerable women are protected. These are often ignored in natural disasters.”

Communication lines and electricity have been disrupted in some parts of the capital, and extensive damage to roads, infrastructure and houses has been experienced. In 2015, floods and torrential rains made over 9,000 people temporarily homeless in Freetown. And now, an unprecedented number of people have been killed in these recent mudslide and floods. It is the poor that have suffered most. Reducing disaster risk is a key priority for the future.

The Aminata Maternal Foundation calls on the Australian community to urgently support its appeal following the Sierra Leone flooding.

A donation can be made to help buy urgently needed items for women and their children, including baby formula, food, nappies, medical supplies and blankets.

Find the donation page HERE to make a tax deductible donation – online, by cheque or mail, or by phone.

For further information on the crisis in Sierra Leone please visit the BBC website HERE

About the Aminata Maternal Foundation:

The Aminata Maternal Foundation was established to improve mortality outcomes for women and babies in Sierra Leone, the country with the world’s highest infant mortality rate and where 70% of the population live in poverty. The Foundation takes a multi-faceted approach to empowering women through providing resources and education around pregnancy, pre and post-natal care.

Press contact: Aminata Conteh Biger, CEO and Founder Aminata Maternal Foundation (mobile: 0413 078 495 / email: amitjoy4@yahoo.com.au) or Penny Gerstle, Chair (mobile 0408 29 11 96 / pgerstle@optusnet.com.au)

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