16 August 2017

Liberia Expresses Solidarity With Sierra Leone After Mudslide Kills Hundreds

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.

Monrovia — Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expressing solidarity with the government and people of its next-door neighbors Sierra Leone in the aftermath of massive mudslides in country's capital that has led to the death of more than 300 people.

"During this difficult period of national tragedy, I wish to express our solidarity with you and the people of Sierra Leone," the Liberian leader said in a statement Tuesday.

The President stressed that it is the hope of the Liberian Government and people that the resilience and strength that the people of Sierra Leone have always demonstrated when confronted by challenging circumstances will be manifested again in the face of this natural disaster.

The Red Cross estimated that 600 people were still missing and authorities have said more than 300 people were killed in and around the capital, Freetown on Monday following heavy rains.

Many were trapped under tons of mud as they slept.

The Connaught Hospital mortuary in central Freetown was overwhelmed on Tuesday with more than 300 bodies, many spread on the floor.

Heavy overnight rains triggered a mudslide and flood in the Regent area on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown early Monday morning, August 14. A section of Sugar Loaf mountain came down at around 06:00 a.m. when many people would have been at home sleeping or just getting up for the day.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Sirleaf, on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in her own name, extended to the Sierra Leonean President, Dr. Koroma, and through him, the Government and people of Sierra Leone, especially families of the victims, Liberia's heartfelt condolences, and best wishes for the speedy and full recovery of the injured.

President Sirleaf's counterpart, Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma is meanwhile appealing for "urgent support" for thousands of people hit by mudslides and massive flooding.

The Sierra Leonean leader said entire communities had been wiped out and that the "devastation was overwhelming us".

Close to 400 people have been killed and a mass burial of victims is planned to free up space in mortuaries.

Efforts to recover more people from the muddy rubble that swept through the Regent area are continuing.

The Red Cross said it was struggling to get equipment in to extricate bodies that were buried deep in the mud.

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