Published: Thu, August 17, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Hundreds dead and missing after mudslide in Sierra Leone

Hundreds dead and missing after mudslide in Sierra Leone

Numerous impoverished areas of Sierra Leone's capital are close to sea level and have poor drainage systems, exacerbating flooding during the West African country's rainy season.

He said officials expect bodies to pop up in unexpected places for months to come, as many people were carried away from the Regent area by floodwaters.

Lewis said homes had been built on an unstable hillside composed of clay-like soil. Many homes have been completely submerged. According to Red Cross, more than 9000 people have been affected by the mudslide by some way or the other.

A member of the global aid group Save the Children was reported missing by the organization on Tuesday, along with young children who were with him. Many were thought to be entombed under tonnes of mud.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared a seven-day state mourning in honour of the victims of a devastating mudslide by terming the disaster as the worst in Africa over the past two decades.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had delivered 10,000 meals to Sierra Leone and also planned to send medical aid.

Mr Koroma urged residents of Regent and other flooded areas around Freetown to evacuate immediately so that military personnel and other rescue workers could continue to search for survivors who might be buried under debris. Phone and power outages spread across the city, and some roads were impassable.

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"Contingency plans are being put in place to mitigate any potential outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea, said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric". We hope to provide food, clothing, blankets and water.

The Freetown morgue had reached capacity on Monday, but bodies kept arriving on Tuesday.

Standing in the rain, residents sobbed as they mourned family members and waited for news of those missing. The stench was overwhelming.

Kamara said that a total of 280 bodies had been brought to the facility, while the ambulance has just left to collect six more bodies that were discovered on Tuesday morning. "The hospital mortuary is overwhelmed right now and it is really our only option", he said. "This is too much for us as a country".

The Red Cross has warned it is a race against time to find survivors. "One of them even chose the socks I should put on", a man called Malikie told the BBC. Some were zipped up in body bags, he said, apparently ready for burial.

The Red Cross, which said 312 bodies had been recovered on Monday, said it was struggling to get equipment in to extricate bodies buried deep in the mud. He had no idea whether they were alive.

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