Night-time mudslide buries alive hundreds in Sierra Leone homes

Syndicate Post image

Syndicate Post image

The tragedy struck in the early hours of Monday when a hillside collapsed in the Regent area, 15 miles east of Freetown.

Numerous poor areas of Freetown are near sea level and have poor drainage systems, which makes flooding worse during the rainy season.

"Bodies were just being washed down streams.so many people were crying and wailing", said Amaya, an emergency response coordinator for Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Although Sierra Leone is prone to flooding, the city was not prepared for a disaster of this size, monitoring and evaluation officer for Oxfam Daniel Byrne said.

A spokesman for the Red Cross told the French news agency, AFP, that the group had accounted for at least 312 dead. A BBC reporter at the scene says many people may have been caught asleep when the mudslide occurred.

Another 600 people are estimated to be missing, according to the Red Cross.

Mohamed Sinneh, a morgue technician at Freetown's Connaught Hospital, said 180 bodies had been received so far at his facility alone, many of them children, leaving no space to lay what he described as the "overwhelming number of dead".

The UK has had a strong relationship with Sierra Leone for some years, regularly posting members of DFID and the MoD in the country since British military forces intervened in the civil war in 2000 and following the Ebola crisis in 2014.

Demonstrators hold candlelight vigil for victims of Charlottesville violence
A Candlelight Vigil was held at Orange City Hall Sunday evening in order to remember those who have died at the hands of racism. We have a long ways to go to assure the equality, civil rights and civil liberties of all our people.

Kamara urged the health department to deploy more ambulances, saying his mortuary only has four.

Relatives have been gathering at a morgue overloaded with bodies in Freetown and national TV showed images of people bringing bodies to the morgue in rice sacks. Others were seen carrying relatives' remains in rice sacks to the mortuary.

Vice President Victor Foh said: 'It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.

"The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken", he added. So many people were trapped, trying to reach their loved ones'. The communities most severely affected are Racecourse, Regent and Lumley on the eastern outskirts of Freetown.

The Red Cross, which said 312 bodies had been recovered on Monday, said it was struggling to get equipment in to extricate bodies buried deep in the mud. "She was covered alive", said Kamara.

Contaminated water and water-logging often lead to potentially deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhoea after floods and mudslides.

Pope Francis said Wednesday in a telegram that he's "deeply saddened" by the devastation caused by a mudslide and flooding in the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, where already almost 400 people have died and hundreds are still missing, according to government officials.

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