A mudslide near Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown has likely killed hundreds of people, according to the West African country’s vice-president.
The incident happened when a hillside in the Regent area of Freetown collapsed Monday morning, sending mud sliding down and covering houses where people were sleeping.
“It’s likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble,” Vice-President Victor Foh told Reuters.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” said Foh, adding that authorities were trying to cordon off the area and evacuate people.
An official at a mortuary in Freetown, Sinneh Kamara, told the national broadcaster that more than 200 bodies had been brought in and were being stored on the floor of the morgue, since the facility did not have capacity for all the corpses.
The mudslide followed heavy rains in Sierra Leone, a poor country where the infrastructure was already devastated by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa between 2013 and 2016, which killed almost 4,000 people in the country and more than 11,000 people in total.
Images shared on social media showed people wading through chest-high streams of muddy brown water in the area.
Flooding in Freetown, Sierra Leone pic.twitter.com/2g6zEVdkbC
Hundreds feared buried in this #SierraLeone mudslide. Several houses completely covered pic.twitter.com/AUjJk928sq
Flooding in the country regularly destroys unsafe or illegal housing. Ten people were killed and thousands left homeless by floods in Freetown in 2015.
Posted with permission from Newsweek