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Remembering the Mudslides in Sierra Leone

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Conversation With*

Joe H. Pemagbi, Sierra Leone Country Office, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). 

The mudslides that happened in Sierre Leone in August 2017 added another layer of recovery burden to a community that was already struggling to recover and rebuild from the impact of the Ebola epidemic. The mudslides killed over a thousand people left many missing, and hundreds displaced and homeless. The media coverage was soon overshadowed by other disasters.

In September 2017 we talked with Joe Pemagbi from the OSIWA office in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His insights speak to the larger issues that the mudslides illuminated that unfortunately now, six months later, still have not been adequately addressed. 

The Ebola crisis left an estimated over 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone and the mudslides left an estimated 4,000 children without caretakers. Many people are still without adequate housing and environmental shifts threatened communities with more challenges they will have to address.  

 According to Foundation Center’s Foundation Maps, over the past five years, private funders have contributed over $26 million to organizations based in Sierra Leone. The impact of the mudslides raises questions about how best to help communities to build and strengthen their ability to cope with the long terms challenges after life-shattering events such as these mudslides. 


The following are resources tro learn more about issues discussed in this podcast.

Umuru Fofana-BBC: Reflections on Sierra Leone’s Mudslide Disaster

Echoes from Across the River – Joe Pemagb

“Guaranteeing Democratic Accountability in the Context of a Humanitarian Crisis: A Case Study From the Recent Ebola Crisis in the Mano River” – Joe Pemagbi – Download pdf

Resources on Sierra Leone Mudslide -Download pdf – a list of news articles and reports

Conversation With is a series of the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group