(ANS - Freetown) - On August 14 a violent landslide caused by torrential rains swept Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. According to local authorities, the number of deaths is about 1,000, but a definitive figure seems unlikely to be tallied. Two weeks after another flood, again due to heavy rainfall, it fell onto a suburb of the capital, causing a thousand deaths, including hundreds of children. Many people are still missing. The Don Bosco Fambul Center immediately took on the responsibility of welcoming and protecting children.
(ANS - Freetown) - A week after torrential rain devastated everything and everyone in Freetown, the search operations for hundreds of missing people buried in the mud continues. The number of deaths due to the mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, amounts to 461, as reported by the Reuters news agency, citing the spokesman for a local source. In an interview, Fr Jorge Crisafulli, a Salesian Freetown-based missionary, speaks of the current situation.
Freetown, Sierra Leone - August 21, 2017 - Salesians working in Freetown visited the flooded areas and hospitals and offered their complete support to help the government in the emergency. The disaster has recorded more than 492 deaths, 600 missing, and over 3,000 displaced persons. Since Friday, the local Salesians have hosted more than 300 children and numerous mothers nurturing their babies.
(ANS - Freetown) - While the world is talking about attacks in various parts of the globe, the deaths of Barcelona, Spain, and the situation of insecurity in numerous parts of Europe, death and destruction have devastated areas of Sierra Leone where, in Freetown, the poor and forgotten live. "We have begun to receive the survivors," writes Salesian P. Jorge Crisafulli who, with the Salesian community, works to help the survivors with all kinds of needs.
(ANS - Freetown) - Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leon, lies between the mountains and the sea, in a country with the entire continent's highest rate of annual precipitation. The rainy season on Sierra Leon's capital is very long and therefore it is not surprising that the city is accustomed to flooding. But the rains that hit the city on Monday, August 14, have caused nearly 400 deaths, hundreds of people missing, death and desolation everywhere. What are the Salesians doing in this situation? As during the Ebola epidemic, they are among the first to respond, and now commit themselves to accompanying the children affected.
(ANS – Freetown) – “Once a guard told us that we were not allow to kill cockroaches, because our lives were of less value than that of a cockroach,” says an inmate who spent 4 years in Pademba. The lives of inmates, "faceless men" in the prison of Pademba Road is an experience of continued suffering. Not by chance is it called "Hell on earth." But for the prisoners, life is not easy even when you leave the place. Unless someone decides to help you.
Comfort Zone: NO THANK YOU! "I prefer a wounded Church"
Some were astonished to see the face of Pope Francis injured during his visit to Colombia. The bruise on his eyebrow and on his cheekbone, the blood-stained white garment. A small accident on the Pope-mobile, which brought to mind the words of Bergoglio and inspired my ANS Editorial: "I prefer a Church that is bruised, wounded and dirty because it is going out into the streets, rather than a Church made sick by closure and the convenience of clinging to its own safety." (EG49)
RMG - Father Tom: "I am what I am today because God has taken care of me"
(ANS - Rome) - A serene man, in peace with God and with everyone, including the kidnappers, and also able to joke about the experience he lived through. This is the image the world's journalists and media saw in Fr Tom Uzhunnalil the morning of Saturday 16 September at the "Salesianum" in Rome where they heard in person the touching tale of captivity and liberation, both experiences lived with great faith in God.
Democratic Republic of the Congo - "The child and the dugout canoe"
(ANS - Miti) - There are three maternal orphans abandoned by their fathers; there is Bora, a young woman who has faced more challenges in her 28 years than most people live through in an entire lifetime; there are the Bambuti Pygmies who, while being the region's oldest inhabitants, when Kahuzi Biega National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, were expelled and now live on the margins: there are, alas, many poor people living in rural areas near Bukavu where the Salesian missionary Fr Piero Gavioli and Lydie Masoka, a Salesian Cooperator, are working as best as they can to help give a future to the area's children and most vulnerable teens.