So far in the response, UNICEF through partners including Living Water International, ADP and SLSAV has supported the Government of Sierra Leone by delivering more than 600,000 litres of clean water to affected people, and installed seven 10,000 litre water tanks and ten 5,000 litre tanks & bladders, as well as building toilets (10 mobile latrines, 20 trench latrines, and also rehabilitating 10 trench latrines) at sites being used by people displaced by the disaster. In support of the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, UNICEF has also supported WASH services relating to infection prevention & control (IPC) in four main hospitals comprising Connaught hospital, 34 Military hospital, PCMH and Lumley through permanent handwashing stations with water storage at entrances.
UNICEF has also been a key government partner in helping set-up the ‘Old Skool’ centre to receive affected families over the last few days. UNICEF in collaboration with the government and other sector partners is supporting the supply of safe water and provision of sanitation facilities. A total of four, 10,000 litres water storage tanks (capacity of 40,000 litres of water) have been installed while the construction of rain water harvesting facilities is also ongoing. Both female and male WASH rooms, a laundry, and ten mobile latrines have been provided, and the construction of temporary VIP latrines is ongoing. To ensure maximum use of WASH facilities, UNICEF has deployed hygiene promoters who are providing hygiene education as well as monitoring hygiene behaviour practices, including hand washing with soap and water.
Beyond the temporary displacement centres, UNICEF in support of the Office of National Security and government ministries/departments/agencies has started activities targeting affected households in neighbouring communities with safe water through water trucking, household-based rain water harvesting, the distribution of water treatment chemicals (aqua tabs) as well as hygiene education on cholera prevention.
To underline the importance of good hygiene practices, UNICEF has worked with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to engage 150 community health workers to sensitize affected communities on the importance of handwashing, and the signs of symptoms of cholera and other life-threatening diseases. Each day around 7,000 households are being reached by UNICEF, while more than 300 other social mobilizers are also deployed by other organizations. Since 18 August, UNICEF has also been carrying out a mass media campaign through radio (over 3,500 minutes – Public Service Announcements and call-in discussion programmes) and television (over 600 minutes – call-in discussion programmes) with messages particularly on cholera prevention. In addition, UNICEF has been supporting the Government prepare for any cholera outbreak through delivery of supplies and pre-identification of sites for cholera treatment units.
In support of the Government, UNICEF has worked with partner FHM and others on five child-friendly spaces in affected communities, and have supported the Don Bosco centre, which is sheltering around 200 affected children. UNICEF has also been working as a partner of the Government response in the areas of health, nutrition, social protection and education. So far, supplies to the value of more than $330,000 have been delivered. UNICEF’s work in the emergency response has been generously supported by UK aid from the British people to the value of $2.7 million, as well funds from the Government of the Netherlands and our own fundraising.