Sierra Leone is a country where flooding was not unusual, but the torrential rains early Monday devastated the country and doubled over on horror when it turned a horrific fast moving mudslide, destroying entire villages and sweeping away citizens and homes.
This catastrophic mudslide wreaked havoc on the lives of the citizens of this West African nation. Bodies floated down the mudflow with nearly 400 people dead and at least 600 missing. It is estimated that over 3,000 people will be left homeless.
Survivors are digging through mud desperate to find missing family and community members. It’s a race against the clock when it comes to finding those missing and trapped. Along with the Red Cross, the UN chapter stationed in Sierra Leone are helping with the search.
“Contingency plans are being put in place to mitigate any potential outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea,” the UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said.
The morgue reached capacity, and bodies are stacked outside for identification. Terrified family members wear masks trying to identify loved ones. While many were given closure knowing where their late relatives were, many people are still desperately clinging to the hope that their loved ones will be found. Some residents of Sierra Leone are comparing this catastrophe to the Ebola epidemic which hit this West African community in 2014.
Talking to BBC, the President of Sierra Leone stated that entire communities had been destroyed and urged for aid to be delivered to the country in this time of need. “The entire community is now in mourning,” he said. “Loved ones are still missing, well over 600 people.” The president addressed the citizens on TV, promising to have an emergency response center built in the neighborhood of Regent.
Despite the horrible circumstances, the President gave a hopeful message: “This tragedy of great magnitude has once again challenged us to come together, to stand by each other and to help one another.” There will be a mass burial on Wednesday to conserve space and honor the memory of late family, friends, and community members in Sierra Leone.