Hundreds dead and missing after devastating mudslide in Sierra Leone

World Today

Sierra Leone’s President has declared seven days of mourning, following a devastating mudslide. At least 400 have died, and that number is expected to rise.

Hundreds are still missing, and more than two-thousand are homeless.

CGTN’s Susan Mwongeli has more on the recovery efforts.

It’s by far one of the worst natural disasters in Africa in recent years. Hundreds of people have been killed, and thousands are homeless.

Rescue and recovery efforts are continuing although authorities warn the chances of finding more survivors are slim. At least 600 people are still missing.

Families have been flocking to hospitals in search of their loved ones.

“We are calling on relatives to come and identify their relatives so that we will be able to give them a decent burial,” Lansana Cotor Kamara, a volunteer said. “And some other bodies that we are not be able to claim by relatives, definitely the state will give them a very decent burial.”

President Ernest Bai Koroma and his wife have visited the town of Regent. He’s urged residents to stand back and allow rescue workers to do their jobs.

“It’s very difficult for the rescue teams,” said Josephus Konteh, a rescue worker. “We don’t have enough resources. Because the area is still not safe, ambulances are parked far away and we have to walk long distances to take survivors to the hospital or bodies to the mortuary.”

The United Nations said it has teams on the ground in Sierra Leone supporting the rescue operations.

Flooding is common in Sierra Leone, especially in the areas around Freetown, an overcrowded coastal city of more than a million people.