The Diplomatic Community in Addis Ababa on Wednesday 16th August, 2017 observed A Minute of Silence prayers in observance for the victims of the flooding and mudslides in some parts of Freetown, Sierra Leone during the African Union Peace and Security Council Open Session on the Drought Situation and its Implication on Peace and Security in Africa at the Africa Union Commission in Addis Ababa.
Delegation after delegation used the occasion to convey condolences on behalf of their countries to the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the tragic incident, which took place on Monday 14th August that claimed the lives of over 200 people in the country and destroyed billions of property.
Ambassador Keh Kamara (L) and the AU Commissioner for Socail Affairs
A representative of the British Embassy said his country has dispatched a military assistance team to Sierra Leone to help in the recovery process and to aid the country develop a cholera response plan for the next three months.
The US Ambassador to the African Union, Madam Mary Beth Leonard stated that her country would heed to clarion call and join the United Kingdom in helping the people of Sierra Leone in this time of dire need.
An envoy from the Chinese Embassy expressed his country’s heartfelt condolences to the people of Sierra Leone and noted that China has already taken steps to assist the country’s leadership in speedily rebuilding lives of the people.
The 15 Member States of the African Union Peace and Security Council during the open debate agreed to issue a Press Communiqué in solidarity with the Government and people of Sierra Leone and also pay solidarity visit to the country to sympathy with the people.
Madam Amira Elfadil, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs reiterated her appeal for the PSC and the international community to provide financial support and food aid to the victims. She said her department held a meeting yesterday and they agreed on the following: provision of financial assistance of USD 100,000 to Sierra Leone, the Permanent Representatives’ Committee Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa; the Policy Sub-Committee of the Special Emergency Assistance Fund for Drought and Famine Relief in Africa; the PSC Member States and the African Union Commission should undertake an Assessment and Solidarity Mission to Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara on behalf of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic expressed gratitude to the wider Diplomatic Community for the condolence messages.
Ambassador Keh Kamara ended by reading an Address by His Excellency Dr. President Ernest Bai Koroma to the nation on the flooding and landslides of 14th August, 2017. The said statement has been officially requested by the African Union Peace and Security Secretariat to be uploaded on the Secretariat’s website alongside the Press Communiqué, which the African Union Peace and Security Council will be issuing in solidarity with the Government and people of Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, in observance of the seven days of national mourning declared by President Koroma across the country from 16 to 22 August, 2017, the flag at the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Addis Ababa was flown at half mast.