FREETOWN (AFP, REUTERS) - The death toll from massive flooding and a mudslide that have hit Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, rose to 312 on Monday (Aug 14), the local Red Cross said.
Red Cross spokesman Patrick Massaquoi told AFP the toll could rise further as his team continued to survey disaster areas in Freetown, where heavy rains have caused homes to disappear under water and triggered a mudslide.
Mohamed Sinneh, a morgue technician at Freetown’s Connaught Hospital, had said “at least” 180 bodies had been received, leaving no space to lay the dead because of the “overwhelming” number of corpses being brought to the facility.
Vice-President Victor Foh earlier said hundreds of people had likely been killed in a mudslide on Monday in the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital.
“It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble,” Foh told Reuters at the scene in the mountain town of Regent. He said a number of illegal buildings had been erected in the area.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he said. “We’re trying to cordon the area. Evacuate the people.”
Standing in the rain, people cried and gestured toward a muddy hillside where dozens of houses once stood, a Reuters witness said.
Mudslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in West Africa, where deforestation and poor town planning has put residents at risk.
This story is developing.