Officials at the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) provided the line item budget for flood responses aimed at 10 communities across Freetown that began last month and will continue for the next three months. The accounting was relayed in response to my publication dated 3rd September 2019, which questioned what disaster relief funds were being spent on. Director of Finance Sahr M Moiba said that SLRCS is transparent about its finances and provided the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) budget for the Freetown flood responses. “We have an open door policy,” Moiba said.
Disaster Management Coordinator Thomas Abu corrected that monetarily, the efforts for flood victims in Freetown were separate from the flood relief SLRCS provided in Bonthe last week that were funded by the British Red Cross. Funding for the response efforts in Freetown came in the form of 173,092 Swiss Francs (CHF) from the DREF with the Sierra Leone chapter of IFRC. IFRC is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. According to xe.com, an international financial currency exchange website, 173,092 Swiss Francs is approximately equivalent to Le1.6 billion (Le1,667,051,139 SLL), or 176,497 USD as of 4th September 2019. According to the finance director, the funds are managed in collaboration with IFRC. He said that the budget accounts not just for the supplies distributed to communities over the past two days, but also for the search and rescue efforts that were deployed immediately after the floods, and to train and deploy volunteers for health and hygiene sensitizations over the next three months. SLRCS budgeted approximately Le936,629,148 (or 98,543 USD) of the total amount for relief items and supplies. This includes the relief packages deployed to 300 families across 10 communities which were affected by the 2nd August 2019 flooding. The communities targeted by the DREF funds are Ogu Farm, Dodo, Bathurst, Kroo Bay, Kaningo, Kamayama, Susan’s Bay, Wellington, Mabella, and Bololo communities. The budget outlines the unit prices paid for the thousands of items purchased for the care packages. For example, 950 tarpaulins were purchased for Le150,000 each, and 600 bars of soap were purchased for Le8,000 each. Although the relief items and supplies account for a large chunk of the budget, Abu noted that it is not the only effort covered in the budget. “It is not just for the relief items,” Abu clarified. SLRCS has budgeted money to incentivize volunteers, or pay workers, with Le40,000 per day to lead health and hygiene sensitization workshops and trainings, simulation exercises with community leaders, and monthly meetings with the affected communities and youth groups. The budget allocated Le244,300,000 to pay workers Le120,000 per week for 12 weeks, and allocated Le2,000,000 per community for sanitation equipment for cleaning. The remainder of the funds are budgeted to train volunteers, pay for distribution and transport, and administrative general expenditures. SLRCS worked in partnership with the Office of National Security and other partners to determine which communities and families would be provided with assistance.
By Emma Scher
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