Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

More than 300 dead, 700 missing after Sierra Leone mudslide

More than 300 dead, 700 missing after Sierra Leone mudslide

More than 200 people have been buried after a massive mudslide in mountain town of Regent, on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown have turned streets into virtual rivers. 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.

A mass burial is understood to have taken place yesterday to free up more space in the overwhelmed central mortuary.

"Those that have survived, we are making them look forward to God with hope instead of worrying about the situation much more".

Relatives were frantically digging through the mud in search of their loved ones and a morgue in the nearby national capital of Freetown overflowed with bodies, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile disaster management official Candy Rogers said that "over 2,000 people are homeless", hinting at the huge humanitarian effort that will be required to deal with the fallout of the flooding in one of Africa's poorest nations.

Another man said he had identified his wife's body but had no news of his two young daughters.

Up to 3,000 people are also said to be without shelter after floodwaters smashed through their homes - with many people hearing the mudslides approaching but unable to escape in time.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) released $150,000 in emergency funds immediately following the flooding.

That body count, however, already makes this one of the most devastating single day incidents to affect Freetown in its history with as many, if not more, people dying in the city in one 24-hour period than ever before. Military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue operation in the West African country.

Residents of Freetown survey the damage caused by the mudslide in the suburb of Regent behind Guma reservoir.

Worldwide aid agency Save the Children said one member of staff, along with his children, had disappeared.

Community chief Fatmata Tarawallie said she had started calling for help at 4:00am on Monday but that it did not come soon enough.

An estimated 9,000 people have been affected, Nasir told The Associated Press. "It will have a great importance and resonance in the heart and morale of people in Sierra Leone", he said.

According to meteorologists, the area has seen almost 20 inches more rain than average over the last 30 days.

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim from the site of a mudslide in Regent.

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