Israel’s ambassador in West Africa, Paul Hirschson, was in contact with Sierra Leone authorities Tuesday about beginning to transfer aid to the country after it was hit by devastating mudslides early Monday morning.
Israel will begin purchasing food to distribute to survivors of the mudslide and will follow that up with medical aid in cooperation with local authorities, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
Initial Red Cross estimates said as many as 3,000 people were left homeless and the figure is expected to rise.
On Monday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to send the aid to Freetown, where more than 300 people died.
“The prime minister has ordered the Foreign Ministry to extend aid to Sierra Leone in any way and as soon as possible,” his office said.
Hirchson is nonresident ambassador to Sierra Leone and is based on Senegal.
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma visited Israel in January, and at that time Netanyahu discussed with him the possibility of sending a delegation to support economic development.
Modtager lige nu de mest grusomme billeder fra Sierra Leone, hvor flere hundrede er døde i mudderskred.
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to UN indicators.
Sierra Leone’s military, police and Red Cross volunteers were deployed in an all-out effort to locate and rescue citizens trapped in their homes or under rubble.
The Sierra Leone meteorological department did not issue any warning ahead of the torrential rains to hasten evacuation from the disaster zones, AFP’s correspondent based in Freetown said.
Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux confirmed Koroma had called a national emergency, and said his own boss, Information Minister Mohamed Bangura, was in the hospital after being injured in the flooding.
The scale of the human cost of the floods was only becoming clear on Monday afternoon, as images of battered corpses piled on top of each other circulated and residents spoke of their struggles to cope with the destruction and find their loved ones.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 14, 2017
Freetown, an overcrowded coastal city of 1.2 million, is hit each year by flooding during several months of rain that destroys makeshift settlements and raises the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
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