Sierra Leone is struggling against mudslides.

‘The water took away my mother and sister and they have buried them today. That’s why we are here, to mourn and go back home’ Said Zainab Kargbo, a survivor of the Sierra Leone mudslide.

More than 400 bodies have been pulled from the debris of Sierra Leone’s mudslides as burials and recovery efforts pressed amid the threat of further disaster.

“The death toll is climbing by the day”, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the international Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

He added that the disaster is “way beyond the capacity of the government alone”.Large scale burials have begun as an estimated 600 people remain missing. People continue to search through tons of mud and debris amid the remains of mangled buildings

the government has warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack mountainside has opened. Rainfall remains in the forecast for the coming days, slowing recovery efforts and bringing the threat of further mudslides.

Thousands of people have lost their homes. Some critics accuse the government for not learning from past disasters in a city where many poor areas are near sea level and lacks good drainage.

The capital is also plagued by unregulated construction on its hillsides.

The government has hired 600 gravediggers for burials in a cemetery that hold victims of 2014-15 Ebola outbreaks that killed thousands in the country.

Houses that hugged the slopes of

mount Sugar Loaf,many of them little more than wooden shacks with tin roofs, were buried after torrents of mud poured down under the force of the water.

Rescue workers say that they are losing hope of finding whole bodies in the debris. Some  body parts have washed up one nearby beaches.

Many residents were shell shocked in the wake of the disaster, crying as they walked along or looked for missing loved ones. One woman told that she had lost most of her family members, including her heavily pregnant sister. 

Another resident, Ishamel Tomboyeke said he was looking for his sister’s body.  After seeing the mudslide, he said, “I ran there, I saw where the house was, everythingwas demolished”

The city morgue at the Connaught Hospital has been overwhelmed by the influx of victims in what is one of the deadliest  natural disasters to hit Africa in recent years.

Flooding is not unusual in the region,

which is experiencing its rainy season.

But this year has been particularly wet, with Freetown receiving more than 27 inches of rain in between July 1 and August 13 - more than double the average of 11.8 inches, according to the US National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

Nonetheless, rights group Amnesty International said,  the authorities could have done more to avert the crisis.

“While flooding is a natural disaster,  the scale of the human tragedy in Freetown is, sadly, very much man made” said MakmidKamara, the organization’s deputy Director of global Issues.

“The authorities should have learned lessons from previous similar incidents and put in place systems to prevent, or at least minimize, the consequences of these disasters. Devastating floods are now an annual occurrence in the country’s capital. Yet, due to a lack of  regulation  and sufficient

sufficient consideration for minimum standards and environmental laws, millions of Sierra Leoneans are living in dangerously vulnerable homes”.

International aid is now needed to provide temporary accommodation, proper sanitation and health care to those affected, amnesty said, as t warned that the death toll was likely to rise “substantially”.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sent her condolences to the people of Sierra Leone.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and those whose homes and livelihoods have been affected”, she said in a statement posted on her official Twitter account.

Sierra Leone is a West African country where 70% of its population lives in poverty. More recently the Ebola outbreak overburdened the weak healthcare infrastructure, leading to more deaths from medical neglect than Ebola itself.

Sierra Leone is a lesson to every other nation that we have to be prepared for any crisis. In fact, Sierra Leone has been warned to take necessary aids for natural calamities. Their ignorance took the life of more than 400 people. From Sierra Leone we all need to learn that Prevention is always better than cure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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