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17.57 17 Aug 2017


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The United Nations says more than 100 children have been reported dead after mudslides in Sierra Leone.

UNICEF says it is responding to the needs of displaced families affected in the capital, Freetown.

It says among the several hundred people killed in the flooding and landslides were at least 109 children.

The death-toll is expected to rise, with over 600 people - including many children - still unaccounted for.

UNICEF representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim says: "The scale of the damage is unprecedented.

"Children have been left homeless, vulnerable and terrified.

"We must do all we can to protect them from disease and exploitation."

UNICEF is also offering psycho-social support to those traumatised by the events.

Water storage tanks are also being set-up after many water sources were contaminated and damaged.

UNICEF says it is working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.

Sierra Leone's Office of National Security (ONS) estimates that more than 3,000 people have lost their homes.

The Irish Government has pledged more than €400,000 from the Start Fund to provide funding.

The Start Fund is a humanitarian pooled fund which enables NGOs to access emergency funding in order to quickly respond to emergencies.

Ireland allocated €1.3m to the Start Fund earlier this week.

While Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide is boosting its emergency response team in the West African country.

The agency already has 157 staff working in the capital, Freetown.


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