Death toll rises to 450 from Sierra Leone mudslide

World Today

Death toll rises to 450 from Sierra Leone mudslide

The death toll has now risen to 450 in this week’s devastating mudslide in Sierra Leone. Officials said a third of the dead are children. Mass search operations are underway for the hundreds that are believed to be still buried under the rubble. But there’s little hope of finding anyone alive.

CGTN’s Deji Badmus reports from Freetown.

It’s back to work as the excavators move into what is now an open field. This is more or less a recovery operation than a rescue.

Authorities say about 600 people still remain unaccounted after heavy rain on Monday caused the massive mudslides. It’s assumed that the missing are all buried under the mud, and the fear is that majority of them may never be found.

Among those who are still buried is Pastor Daniel. He was conducting vigil church service when heavy floods and boulders from the mountain washed the church and his entire family away. His colleague and other church members are helping the search for their bodies.

“I feel so bad,” Augustine Kannada, a clergy member at Daniel’s church said. “He is the one who is responsible for his entire family. So I feel bad.”

Ema Kamara has not been able to find the bodies of her younger brother, his wife, and two children who lived at the foot of mountain.

Struggling to hold back tears, she showed his voter identification card. She said she has been to the mortuary several times but did not their bodies among those displayed for identification.

“I called his line several times; it’s not connecting,” she said. “Those who know him say he is dead. We can’t find his body. We don’t know what the government will do.”

Bodies pulled from the grounds are bagged and driven to the mortuary.