CFA To Press Trump Administration on Sierra Leone Emergency Relief

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Constituency for Africa president Melvin Foote plans to press the Trump administration to boost emergency relief aid to Sierra Leone, he told the West African nation's ambassador to Washington, today.

"Without question CFA must respond to the crisis in Sierra Leone. We will do what we can to press the US Administration to respond to the immediate crisis in Sierra Leone, and also inform and press African-Americans and the Diaspora to also do what we can to generate a significant response," Foote said, in a meeting with ambassador Bockari Stevens, at the embassy.

"Unfortunately the American public has not been properly informed about the scope and scale of the Freetown tragedy. The western media has been largely silent about the Sierra Leone tragedy, and instead has been focused on domestic priorities,” Foote said.

While it is far too early to determine the exact cause of the horrific mud-slide disaster in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for sure the over-cutting of trees and resultant soil-erosion over time, overpopulation of the area, and climate change manifestations, were all factors in this large-scale mud slide.

The Government of Sierra Leone has put out an international appeal for assistance to address the crisis. Many neighboring countries have already begun to respond with assistance, and international partners including the United States are now considering assistance for Sierra Leone.

More than 800 people, including many women and children, have now been declared dead by the Sierra Leone government thus far from the tragedy, and more than 1,000 more are still listed as missing.

Against Sierra Leone's culture, some 400 people were buried in mass graves yesterday and another 400 are being buried today. Hundreds more have been hospitalized and another 1,500 were rendered homeless from the disaster.

With the prospects for cholera and other water-borne diseases so prevalent in such disaster situations, the Sierra Leone government has decided to forgo ritual burial processes and have buried the dead as quickly as possible.

Joining CFA’s Foote for the meeting were, Victoria Gregg, a film documentary producer, Charles Sharp, the President of the Black Emergency Managers Association (BEMA), Jeannine B. Scott, who is a Member of the CFA Board of Directors, Janette Yarwood, who is the Legislative Director for Africa for Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Sub-Committee on Africa, and Robert L. Mallett, the President of the relief and development agency Africare.

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