Surging mudslides and floodwaters in and around Sierra Leone’s capital have killed more than 300 people, many of them trapped as they slept. Another 600 people are missing, the Red Cross said on Tuesday, and the death toll is expected to rise.
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone said that his country needed “urgent support now” for thousands of people affected by massive flooding and mudslides in the capital of one of the world’s poorest nations.
Thousands lost their homes in the disaster, which was triggered by heavy rains.
“I ran away from the house, leaving behind my family,” a grieving Kamara told The Associated Press. “I am the only one that has survived, as my house and dozens of others were covered with mud and boulders.”
Addressing the media in the Regent hilltop community of Freetown, one of the areas hit hardest by a mudslide that has destroyed homes, Koroma fought back tears as he said the devastation “was overwhelming us”.
“Entire communities have been wiped out,” Koroma said at the disaster site, where heavy rains streaming down the hillside engulfed homes three or four stories high on Monday, many of them built illegally.
The Red Cross has said it was struggling to bring enough equipment to the site to excavate those buried deeply in the mud, but several bodies were extracted by available machinery at the site on Tuesday morning, according to an
(With PTI inputs)