At least 205 persons have been confirmed dead and several still missing as a massive mudslide swept Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital, according to government officials and aid agencies.
A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sierra Leone, Abu Bakarr, said authorities have recovered the bodies of 205 people, adding that the number was expected to rise.
More than 1,000 others have been affected, with “both figures to climb as search and rescue continues,” according to the Red Cross.
The majority of rainfall in the country comes between June and October.
This year has been particularly wet, with Freetown receiving more than 41 inches of rain since July 1, which is about triple the average of 13.8 inches, according to the US National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
That is about triple the average of 13.8 inches, according to the US National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
The United Nations office in Sierra Leone said on its Twitter account that it was assessing the damage and preparing a response.
Abdulai Bayraytay, the spokesman for President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, told CNN the immediate priority was to help the victims.
“At the moment, we are concentrating on search and rescue and providing medical and therapeutic support to the community affected,” Bayraytay said.
He identified Mortema, outside the Regent district capital, as the place most affected.
The Police, Military and the Office of National Security were all involved in the rescue mission.
“We have alerted all hospitals so that those rescued can be provided with immediate support on site or be ferried to hospitals,” Bayraytay said.
Social workers have also been sent to comfort the survivors.
“The whole country is traumatised by the magnitude of the disaster,” he added.
Bayraytay said President Koroma had visited the scene “to provide words of comfort to the victims”.
Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters that hundreds of people could be lying dead underneath the rubble.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he was reported as saying.
“We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”
SOURCE: Agencies news