Sierra Leone: New mudslide threat looms ahead of mass burial

Geneva Matthews
August 18, 2017

Almost 400 people are confirmed dead after a mudslide in the Regent area and floods elsewhere in Freetown on Monday.

With 600 persons still missing in Freetown, President Ernest Bai Koroma described the humanitarian challenge ahead as "overwhelming".

In the letter, Mrs. Buhari said "I commiserate with you and the people of Sierra Leone on the unfortunate mudslide and heavy flooding which claimed more than 300 lives and prayed almighty God to give their families the fortitude to bear the loss".

Crowds gather outside the Connaught Hospital waiting for loved ones outside a mortuary in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

It said that unidentified bodies will be given dignified burial at Waterloo between today and tomorrow.

About 1.9 hectares (4.7 acres) of the hillside collapsed in Monday's landslide, which covered homes in an area spanning 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres), the minister said.

She later said she was only able to identify two members of her family. "Without protecting our environment, we can not hope to reduce the risk of such tragedies from reoccurring".


"Government is in the process of sending relief items to Sierra Leone to aid in the recovery process", he wrote on Twitter.

"The President has further chose to invoke MAC-C (Military Aid to Civil Community) and to raise the national security threat level to level 3 in direct response to the unfolding emergency situation", the statement said.

Thousands have lost their homes in impoverished, low-lying areas of Freetown and surrounding communities.

About 150 people have already been buried on Tuesday evening in Freetown, according to an official of the municipal council of the capital, Sulaiman Zaino Parker. One woman told CNN she had lost most of her family members, including her heavily pregnant sister.

Emergency response teams have raced to dig out survivors and dispose of bodies but the central morgue is overwhelmed and many bodies are feared trapped under mud and rubble.

Mudslides and floods are fairly common in rainy parts of Africa, and deforestation and poor town planning often contribute to the risk.

The prevailing sentiment among those in the disaster areas had shifted from shock and grief to anger at what is an annual problem in Freetown, she said, though never before on this scale.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

Discuss This Article