Kroo Bay Disaster Relief

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Focus Areas: Housing

This project is geared towards ameliorating recovery in Kroo Bay after a fire disasters in 2010. This relief project focuses on providing immediate relief to 250 Federation members affected by a fire in the area. As part of the relief response and bearing in mind that the area is also prone to seasonal flooding, an emergency relief support committee was formed. This committee aims to come up with solutions for disaster relief in slum areas that address relevant needs and do not forcibly evict slum dwellers. 

Location: Kroo Bay, Free Town, Sierra Leone


The procurement and distribution of non-food items including imported building materials -  corrugated iron sheets, iron and roofing nails - to 250 Federation members affected by the fire in the area. One hundred and fifty (150) shacks were reconstructed. The walls were made from corrugated roofing sheets and foundations from sandcrete were rehabilitated to help improve the structures and protect them against future flooding. To date building materials (iron sheets used to rebuild shacks) have been purchased and household materials (buckets, dishes, soap, linen clothing) to support victim.  

Community capacity:

An emergency relief support committee has been formed, which brings together the Federation, community members, the Freetown City Council (FCC), and other local authorities. The committee aims to come up with solutions for disaster relief in slum areas that address relevant needs and do not forcibly evict slum dwellers. Community sensitization has been done in order to gain community support for the process. The project is viewed by Federation members as an opportunity to be involved in ongoing policy development and strengthening – partnering with other agencies and government to carry out sensitization and awareness raising campaigns to inform the public.  It is hoped that the public will then in turn support victims of disaster in disaster prone areas. 

Federation members contributed money and clothing to victims of the fire. 


This project served as a learning opportunity from which disaster risk reduction (DRR) was adopted and piloted in 2 slum settlements intended to develop and strengthen community capacity and resilience and preparedness for disaster occurrences. Through this process, community-led disaster management committees (CDMCs) have been trained in Kroo Bay and Dworzack communities which are linked to FCC Disaster Committee and the Disaster Management Department of the Office of National Security (ONS).


The project has been able to demonstrate the importance of involvement of grass-roots community organisations in disaster relief, with the Federation having been included in the FCC Disaster Management Committee. The recognition of CDMCs by the FCC and DMD as community-based instruments for DRR is very important as the incidence and occurrences of disasters such as fire, flooding, and mudslides are on the increase in Freetown slums. As such the setting up of these structures provides an opportunity for communities to build their capacities to agitate for support from city and state authorities to institute pro-poor policies and measures that helps to reduce these disasters as well as reduce their impact on the lives of those affected.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$58 928.57 to the project. 

Resources Leveraged:

Y-Care International supported a 9-month pilot DRR project aimed at building the technical and knowledge-based capacity of both professionals and the Federation.
Other external resources leveraged so far include technical expertise from SLRCS, Concern Worldwide and DMD to train the CDMCs, as part of the municipal and national instruments, to deal with community-based disasters.

Jalikatu Cotay (+232) 76 660 266

Project information updated: 20 March 2014

Project in depth

Detailed Information

In the early eighties, people from other parts of Freetown who could not afford good housing moved into Kroo Bay where housing rent was affordable. Today, Kroo Bay is a bustling slum close to the city centre, with a population of approximately 10,982. As a flood-prone area, the population, especially children and women, remain susceptible to and affected by the seasonal flooding. To mitigate the impact of the seasonal flooding on the community, the Sierra Leone Alliance comprised of the YMCA Sierra Leone and Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP) took the initiative to create the Kroo Bay emergency relief committee after an exchange with delegates from the Philippines surrounding disasters and relocation. 
Kroo Bay is home to 10,982 people, of which 38.4% are children between the ages of 0 -9 years (Kroo Bay Community-led Enumeration Report, April 2009). There are 2,622 households in Kroo Bay. The average household size is 4. Most of the occupied structures are limited in space to provide enough room for 4 persons, such that most households are crammed in these tiny spaces they call their home. It is recorded that out of the 2,622 household, 80.4% are male-headed household and 19.6% are female-headed households.


The objectives of the project are to:

  • Provide emergency relief support to 250 federation-member and non-federation households affected by seasonal flooding disaster; and
  • Engage Freetown City Council (FCC) to incorporate Federation members into the nascent FCC Disaster Response Committee and build the capacity of the committee.

This will be achieved through:

  • Community Sensitization and information sharing and partnership with FCC
  • Registration and screening of beneficiaries
  • Procurement of relief items such as clothing, cooking utensils, basic building materials (nails, corrugated roofing sheets and cement)
  • Engagement with FCC for incorporating Federation representation in the nascent Disaster Committee and to further build the capacity of this committee as an initial measure to disaster mitigation in the longer term.

Community capacity:

FEDURP members are actively involved in the activities of CDMCs. However, given that community-managed disaster risk reduction (DRR) funds are yet to be established, their savings are not necessarily geared towards this process.

The representation of FEDURP in FCC Disaster Relief Committee provides an opportunity for a continued collaboration between Federation and local authorities. This allows for a more consultative approach to finding alternatives to evictions. Project sustainability is also addressed through savings. This includes daily group savings and a monthly trust fund.  Problems exist on this as not all Federation members are committed to saving.


This project presents an opportunity for the Federation to be actively involved in on-going policy development and strengthening. The project also presents an opportunity for the Federation to partner with other agencies to carry out sensitization and awareness-raising campaigns to inform the public, who in turn will appreciate and support victims of disaster.


The fire brought about intense engagement with the Mayor of Freetown City Council (FCC) who pronounced forced eviction of Kroo Bay residents as a way of resolving the residents’ vulnerability to disaster. Over time, this engagement resulted in a change of the FCC authorities’ posture from forced eviction to relocation.

The project was able,  through the shared experience of Filipino counterparts, to demonstrate the importance of involving grass-root community members in programmes or activities designed to address disaster situations. Furthermore, the engagement by the Federation with ONS Disaster Management brought about a new understanding and approach to disaster management; a response which involves grass-root community members in addressing their own problems. 

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA)