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VSO emergency response to Sierra Leone oil tanker explosion

VSO emergency response to Sierra Leone oil tanker explosion

Freetown, 6th November – Voluntary Service Overseas are providing emergency disaster response to the explosion in Freetown, Sierra Leone which killed scores of people when a fuel tanker collided with a lorry on Friday evening. VSO volunteers have been among the first responders to support the response to the disaster.

“What I saw is unbearable. It is a different kind of disaster to what our team have dealt with before. I have never seen dead bodies which were burned beyond recognition,” said Samuel Turay, VSO national volunteer emergency co-ordinator.

VSO volunteers who have been trained on disaster risk reduction are conducting needs assessments on the ground to ascertain the level of assistance needed by those who have been injured or lost family members in the explosion. In the coming days volunteers will start to provide psycho-social support for those who have been affected by the tragedy and ensure that adequate safeguarding measures are put in place to protect the most vulnerable.

VSO has trained scores of community volunteers in disaster management through UK Aid funded programmes. The volunteers, who are embedded in their local communities, conduct needs assessments to ascertain that the right type of help is given to those who need it most, including vulnerable groups.

“Although our volunteers have been at the front end of emergency responses from Ebola and mudslides to fires and climate change related disasters such as floods, this disaster has been particularly devastating for those affected and responding. Our volunteers over the next days will be supporting the national response and doing their best to support those impacted to recover from the trauma,” said Kaday Sibanda, VSO Director of Operations.

by Amina Abdirashid, Regional Media and Communications Advisor (Africa Region)

VSO International

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