16 August 2017

Sierra Leone: Death Toll Rises in Sierra Leone Landslide

Photo: AMAMedia/Al Jazeera
On August 14, a mudslide killed more than 400 people in the mountain town of Regent on the outskirts of Sierra Leone‘s capital Freetown, sweeping away homes and leaving residents desperate for news of missing family members.

August 14 has been marked as the worst disaster day in the history of Sierra Leone.

A torrential rain caused a landslide in the mountainous region of the western part of the Capital city, Freetown, which recorded initial death toll of over 450.

The initial rescue operation was carried out by youths, Red Cross personnel, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, civil societies, the National Police, Fire Force, and the Military.

But the service of fishermen with boats has been included to trace those that might be floating at sea.

The country's main Connaught Hospital could not hold the influx of dead bodies retrieved from the wreckage as the mortuary center became overcrowded with piles of dead bodies.

Giving his assessment yesterday, the country's pathologist Dr. Simeon Owiz Koroma said that in decades, he had never seen nor experienced such disaster.

Addressing the situation earlier, the Deputy Minister of Information, Cornelius Deveaux, said that government cannot ascertain the exact number of death as the result was just a tip of the iceberg.

The government has established three emergency centers: two in the western part of the Capital Regent, Lumley, and one in the eastern part at Ross Road to register affected people.

Yesterday, government made available body bags to enable the mass burial of retrieved bodies in order to free the mortuary ahead of a massive Red Cross operation.

Assessing the situation on Monday, the Minister of Internal Affairs Alfred Palo Conteh said that there might be thousands trapped under the rubble feared dead.

The Ministry of Lands and the Environmental Protection Agency has come under serious criticism for failing to stop influential personalities from encroaching into reserved areas such as the mountains and water ways.

This is not the first in the history of Sierra Leone to experience flooding as every year, thousands are made homeless.

Already, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday instructed his Foreign Ministry to send aid to Sierra Leone.

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