Over the weekend, three days of torrential rain caused massive flooding in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. On Monday, August 14, a hillside on the outskirts of Freetown collapsed, creating a mudslide that swept over at least 100 homes. 400 people are confirmed dead, with 600 still missing and thousands homeless. At times like this, the first question for many is, “How can I help?” For those who want to help, here’s what you need to know now.

There are four phases of disaster relief: response, recovery, preparedness, and risk mitigation. We are still in the chaotic first phase when needs on the ground are still being assessed and the primary focus is on immediate search and rescue operations. This is extremely challenging work that requires the specialized expertise of first responders who have experience in similar disasters, and/or have resources already on the ground that can be mobilized immediately.

As a clearer picture emerges of how philanthropy can help, we will update this post over the coming days and weeks.

  • Resist the impulse to donate items; send money of any amount instead.
  • Think top down and bottom up.
  • Help is needed way beyond the first stage.

Read the full article about how to help victims of the Sierra Leone Mudslide at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy.