Sierra Leone prepares for mass funerals after mudslides

17 August, 2017, 02:24 | Author: Garry Little
  • Mudslide and flooding kill 300 in Sierra Leone's capital

Guinean President Alpha Conde visited in solidarity with Sierra Leone on Tuesday and was galvanising aid from west African nations, his aide Naby Youssouf Kiridi Bangoura told AFP.

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.

When aid worker Idalia Amaya arrived at the scene of the mudslide that devastated Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, she was horrified to find homes washed away, entire villages engulfed by mud, and corpses floating down the streets.

Another 3,000 people were estimated to have lost their homes.

Authorities were preparing to bury the bodies in four different cemeteries across Freetown on Wednesday to relieve pressure on the city's already overwhelmed morgues, Idalia Amaya, an emergency response coordinator for Catholic Relief Services, said.

James Chfwelu, national director of Christian charity World Vision in Sierra Leone, told Premier that the devastation has been "the worst that this country has seen". We were trying to flee.

The British organization and volunteers from the Sierra Leone Red Cross are assisting the government search and rescue operations.

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He said the mother was briefly knocked out, then regained consciousness and immediately asked about her children. The woman and the children were crying when first responders arrived but appeared to be mostly unharmed.

Standing in the rain, people cried and gestured toward a muddy hillside where dozens of houses once stood, a Reuters witness said.

Numerous victims were asleep in bed when the disaster struck as a section of Sugar Loaf Mountain fell away.

Other residents were up at the time because of the heavy rains.

More than 300 people have been killed in a mudslide on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown following heavy rains and flooding.

The most affected area was the Regent district, where the collapse and mudslide reached homes fast. "There is some frustration over the regularity of flooding and destruction during the rainy season and its effects", she said.

Contaminated water and water-logging often lead to potentially deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhoea after floods and mudslides. The mudslide has ravaged and sunk homes, leaving hundreds of dead bodies in its wake and rendered nearly 1000 people missing and a further 3000 homeless. The exact figure of loss is yet to be understood but early estimates suggest that at least 350 people have been killed in the flood and the number may rise into several hundred more.

"It's really a caress from the pope to those who are suffering greatly", said the Emeritus Archbishop of Makeni in Sierra Leone, Giorgio Biguzzi, in an interview with Vatican Radio. That's why we're launching an appeal'.



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