(Vatican Radio) The Jesuit North-West Africa Province (whose territory includes Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia) has launched a fundraising drive to help in the long-term reconstruction of areas devastated by the Regent mudslide and flooding in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Over the weekend, a local leader and a Methodist Bishop put the figure of the dead at more than 1,000. They insisted that an accurate count was necessary for accountability. The government had earlier put the death toll from the 14 August mudslide at 500 dead and 600 missing.
The North-West Africa Jesuit Provincial, Fr. Chukwuyenum Afiawari, announced the fundraising drive in a Statement of Appeal to Jesuit communities, institutions, collaborators and friends.
“The flooding and mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which took place in the early hours of Monday, August 14, 2017…causing enormous destruction of property, can only be a source of deep sadness and agony for us all. This is one tragedy too many for a country still recovering from the disaster of the deadly Ebola outbreak. Our prayers, as Jesuits of the North-West Africa Province of the Society of Jesus (whose territory includes Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia) are with the entire population of Sierra Leone, especially those who have suffered the loss of loved ones,“ Fr. Afiawari said.
The Provincial commended the work of organisations that are working to alleviate the suffering in Sierra Leone. He said the Jesuits in the North-West Province also want to participate by partnering with those already on the ground.
“While responding to the immediate needs, we also have to keep an eye on and begin to plan for long term reconstruction efforts. We offer to serve as a conduit for any help that may be offered. We appeal to all our Jesuit companions, communities and institutions throughout the Society, our collaborators-in-mission, friends and benefactors and all people of goodwill everywhere to join in this noble cause as we collaborate with others to care for the suffering Body of Christ in Sierra Leone,” said the Provincial.
The Province has since opened various bank accounts to which well-wishers can make contributions.
For more on how to contribute visit the website of the province: www.jesuits-anw.org/
(Fr. Paul Samsumo, Vatican Radio)