News Release

Latter-day Saints Minister to Mudslide Victims in Sierra Leone

Latter-day Saints provide relief for more than 500 mudslide victims

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sierra Leone has come to the aid of some 500 people impacted by a recent devastating landslide. Three days of heavy rain triggered flash floods and a massive mudslide near the capital city of Freetown. Hundreds have perished and thousands left homeless.


John Titus O’Neil, leader of the Church’s Dwarzak congregation gathered members of the ward council (members of the congregation in leadership roles) to determine how they could assist flood victims living within their ward boundary.

Bishop O’Neil, along with Salifu Conteh, president of the Elders Quorum (adult male members of the Church) and Agness Pieh-Shiaka, president of the Relief Society (adult female members of the Church) went door to door canvassing every dwelling left standing following the avalanche of water and mud.

Dwarzak ward leaders presented a list of 105 families requiring emergency relief to LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only six of the families are members of the Church.  

“We were pleased to see local leaders assess the needs and then access the resources of the Church to fulfill those needs,” said Elder Don Carley, a Church welfare specialist. “Many lives are being blessed because of their efforts.”

Through LDS Charities, local leaders purchased mattresses, food, water and other life sustaining supplies to distribute to those whose homes were lost or had sustained significant damage. Church members, along with community leaders, delivered the relief supplies to those in need.

Freetown City Councilor Shiaka Lamin Dumbuya said, "Dwarzak community was highly affected by the tragic flooding incident…with a total of about 500 people affected. I want to thank The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for your timely intervention. On behalf of the government and His Excellency, the President of Sierra Leone, we say kudos to your Church and its members.”

Bishop O’Neil said, “The process went very well. The government provided security, our members provided labor and all the victims in our area were satisfied. There are now smiles on faces of people who were filled with despair.”

“I am grateful for the welfare plan of the Church,” said Bishop O’Niel. “The Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents have been working hard…to serve their neighbors. God has used these good leaders to bless the lives of those in need.”

In emergency situations, when local resources are strained or nonexistent, LDS Charities provide short-term, life-sustaining resources such as food, water, shelter, and clothing, as well as medical, school, and hygiene supplies. This response is accomplished in partnership with local relief organizations and other international organizations. Under the direction of local leadership, volunteers for LDS Charities help disaster victims recover by distributing supplies and participating in cleanup.

Additional relief will be provided in Sierra Leone as needs are identified.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.