Death toll now above 400 after mudslides, UN says

2017-08-18 15:39
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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

The UN humanitarian agency put the death toll at 409 after the flooding and mudslides in the West African nation's capital, Freetown, on Monday morning.

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 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 of not learning from past disasters in a city where many poor areas are near sea level and lack 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 holds victims of the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak that killed thousands in the country.

President Ernest Bai Koroma joined mourners for burials on Thursday. Many people have been unable to find loved ones as many victims were too mangled and decomposed to be identified, but the government has vowed to hold respectful burials for all.

"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 one survivor, Zainab Kargbo.

The main focus is getting people away from areas still under threat, Zuliatu Cooper, the deputy minister of health and sanitation, told The Associated Press.

"The rains are still pending and there is a possibility that we will have another incident," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  sierra leone  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.