A DEADLY mudslide in Sierra Leone has killed at least 200 people including 60 kids after buildings were flattened near the country’s capital today, The Sun reports.
Storms swept through Freetown, flooding downtown streets and creating mudslides in hilly areas. One such mudslide in the Regent area reportedly happened in the dead of night while many residents were asleep.
Sierra Leone’s national TV broadcaster interrupted regular programming to show shocking scenes of people digging through the mud in a desperate bid to find their loved ones.
Others were seen carting relatives’ remains in rice sacks to the morgue. Officials said military personnel have been deployed to help in the ongoing rescue operation. Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux said officials are still trying to compile precise casualty figures.
But the Society 4 Climate Change Communication Sierra Leone said one hospital morgue confirmed it had received at least 200 bodies – including 60 kids.
And Sinneh Kamara, a coroner technician at the Connaught Hospital mortuary, told the national broadcaster the number of corpses brought in has overwhelmed the facility.
He told the Sierra Leone National Broadcasting Corp that bodies were having to be left on the floor of the morgue. He said: “The capacity at the mortuary is too small for the corpses.”
Kamara also called on the health department to deploy more ambulances, saying his mortuary only has four. The vice president of the country Victor Foh admitted hundreds were feared dead in the disaster.
He said: “It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.” Foh added: “The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken. “We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”
Many of the poorest areas in the city are low-lying and have poor drainage systems, making the effects of flooding worse during the rainy season in the West African country.