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Increasing resilience in Susan’s Bay

UNOPS is working with the government of Japan to help the largest informal settlement in Freetown, Sierra Leone build back better after devastating fires.

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Susan’s Bay has been battling the devastating impact of fires that injured more than 400 people, displaced more than 7,000 people and destroyed most of the settlement’s infrastructure.

For the residents who stayed, overcrowding, poor sanitation and a lack of access to water have made them more vulnerable to the spread of diseases like COVID-19. The rainy season makes these issues even worse.

Using almost $2.3 million in funding from the government of Japan, UNOPS is working with Freetown City Council and Sierra Leone's National Disaster Management Agency to increase Susan's Bay's resilience to disasters.

As part of the project, UNOPS will design and construct a biogas energy system that uses food waste to produce electricity for the community and biodigester toilets, which turn waste into organic manure that can be used as fertilizer.

UNOPS will also rehabilitate stairways and drainage areas as well as connect existing water mains to communal taps and tanks. This will give Susan’s Bay residents access to clean water.

When disaster strikes this community, the toll on its residents is usually high. This project will provide immediate relief to at-risk people while strengthening the community's long-term resilience.

Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba - UNOPS Director and Representative in Ghana

UNOPS will also procure and install fire fighting equipment as well as provide training to volunteer firefighters on how to use the equipment, fire risk prevention and flood emergency response.

"Since most of these disasters cannot be predicted, it is important to invest more in building resilience and enhance the ability of the vulnerable to anticipate, respond to and effectively recover from its effects," said H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Ghana and Sierra Leone.

"This project will further contribute to mitigating emergency risks through resilience-building, ensuring that no one is left behind. It is our hope that these communities will emerge stronger and more resilient and will have the capacity to recover more quickly," said Babatunde A. Ahonsi, UN Sierra Leone Resident Coordinator.

Access to Susan's Bay, which currently is reached using a footpath, will also be improved by upgrading a concrete access stairway into the settlement. In addition, over 300 community members have been recruited to clean drainage areas, which mitigates flooding in the community – helping Susan's Bay to build back better.


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